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Sino-Pak nuclear deal in the offing: Report

A civil nuclear technology deal between Pak and China may be signed during Musharraf's visit to Beijing in June.

india Updated: Apr 10, 2006 12:58 IST

A civil nuclear technology deal between Pakistan and China may be signed during President Pervez Musharraf's visit to Beijing in June to counter the Indo-US nuclear agreement, the Daily Times reported on Monday.

Pakistan has protested against the Indo-US deal and has also sought a similar deal.

But the US has rejected the demand, saying that India and Pakistan were "two different cases".

There have been speculative reports since then that Pakistan might seek China's help.

Beijing has itself signed close to 30 international deals to import nuclear power technology.

The Indo-US civil nuclear pact agreed upon last year and formalised during President George W Bush's visit to the subcontinent last month.

The deal -- if the US Congress clears it -- will allow India access to previously denied nuclear fuel and technology in exchange for New Delhi separating its civilian and military reactors and opening the former to international inspections.

In a related report, the Daily Times quoted official sources as saying that separation of the civil and military nuclear facilities was in the offing and that a new regulatory authority for nuclear power generation would be in place shortly.

Musharraf would be discussing a 2,000 MGW nuclear power plant with the Chinese.

At a recent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) said it was working on the authority's structure, powers, jurisdiction and operations.

The government is holding talks with China to set up nuclear power plants to generate 2,000 MW of electricity.

Sources said the site of the new plants had not yet been selected.

They said the government was trying to get nuclear power technology from Europe, especially France and Italy.

The newspaper linked the nuclear power plant deal reports to the interior ministry's decision to heighten security of diplomats and officials posted to Pakistan and businessmen from China.

Quoting unnamed sources, the paper said intelligence reports say that terrorist organisations might target Chinese nationals to sabotage relations between the two countries.

In the light of these reports, the ministry has directed the authorities to gather information about Chinese nationals residing in Pakistan and make adequate security arrangements for them, the sources said.

Officials have also been asked to provide foolproof security to Chinese engineers and those working with multinational companies in Pakistan.

Chinese have been targeted particularly in Balochistan that is witnessing armed resistance by the tribals who are demanding greater economic and political rights.

First Published: Apr 10, 2006 12:58 IST