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White House defends Indo-US nuclear pact

It denied that the deal would accelerate the nuclear rivalry between India and Pakistan.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 08:39 IST

The White House has struck back at critics of the US-India nuclear deal, denying that the agreement would fuel a South Asia arms race or set a bad example for Israel, Iran, or North Korea.

US President George W Bush made the new accord the centrepiece of his recently concluded trip to India and Pakistan but faces an uphill battle to get it through the US Congress, where critics have vowed to defeat it.

The White House released a statement on Wednesday aimed at quieting some of the more serious charges over the deal.

It denied that the deal would accelerate the nuclear rivalry between India and Pakistan, saying Washington "has no intention of aiding" New Delhi's atomic weapons programme or of concluding a similar cooperation deal with Islamabad.

"We do not intend to pursue a similar civil nuclear cooperation initiative with Pakistan," said the White House.

It also dismissed any notion of a double-standard that might embolden nuclear ambitions in Tehran or Pyongyang.

"It is not credible to compare the rogue regimes of North Korea and Iran to India. Unlike Iran or N Korea, India has been a peaceful and vibrant democracy with a strong nuclear non-proliferation record," the White House said.

Iran and North Korea signed and ratified the NPT, but "broke the very non-proliferation commitments they claimed to follow" and both are "state sponsors of terrorism," it said.

First Published: Mar 09, 2006 08:39 IST