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N-deal with India won't fuel arms race in S Asia: US

The civilian deal provides no 'incentives' to India's military programmes, says senior official Richard Boucher.

world Updated: Mar 23, 2007 12:35 IST

Allaying apprehensions, the US has said its civilian nuclear agreement with India provides no "incentives" to New Delhi's military programmes and will not in any way fuel an arms race in South Asia.

"There have been a lot of studies and a lot of statements -- you heard them all during the debate -- about what this (nuclear deal) would do for India's military programmes, whether it would do anything at all. I still believe it wouldn't; I don't think the incentives are there," Assistant Secretary of South and Central Asia Richard Boucher told lawmakers at a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"As far as the potential for an arms race in the region, we've talked quite clearly to both India and Pakistan. Both of them tell us they don't want to see an arms race... they have no intention of starting one. And indeed, as you yourself noted, they're not only talking, they're making a lot of progress," the senior official added.

Boucher asserted that India will maintain "separation" between its military and civilian nuclear programmes.

"On the issue of military versus civilian, the essence of the deal was a separation between the two and a separation that can be maintained and will be maintained by the Indians based on their decisions and policy, but also in cooperation with some of these international agreements.

"But indeed, there are a series of safeguards that will be negotiated between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency. That is one piece of the package that will be looked at, will be ready for the Congress to look at when we ask you to vote again on finalising the deal," he said.

First Published: Mar 08, 2007 21:55 IST