SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
W O R L D

North Korean nuclear test won’t hit India’s interests
As the United Nations Security Council wrestles with a plan to punish North Korea for its reported nuclear test this week, the top Indian envoy in Washington says the communist nation’s actions are unlikely to affect a crucial deal to allow US civilian nuclear cooperation with India. In an interview with this correspondent, Ronen Sen, India’s Ambassador to the US, said he didn’t think there would be any “negative repercussions in the US Congress with regard to the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement”.

Ban for strong action against N. Korea
United Nations, October 14
Sharply criticising the North Korean nuclear tests earlier this week, United Nations Secretary General-designate Ban Ki-moon has asked the world community to send out a "very strong, unified and clear" message to Pyongyang so that it would not have "any temptation to engage in further negative activities".

Sharif “solely decided on Kargil”
Islamabad, October 14
Denying claims that he had asked Nawaz Sharif to “arrange” a ceasefire in Kargil with the US’ help, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said the deposed former premier had gone to Washington without consulting him and “solely decided on Kargil”. Musharraf said in the July 2, 1999, defence committee meeting, Sharif opposed the “surrender of troops in Kargil and (said) the Pakistan army should not return in any case.”


 

 

EARLIER STORIES


An undated video grab shows Mullah Dadullah, top Taliban commander, in a vehicle at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan.
An undated video grab shows Mullah Dadullah, top Taliban commander, in a vehicle at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. — Reuters photo

Pro-Taliban militants signed deal with Pak: report
Islamabad, October 14
The much-talked about deal between tribal elders in Waziristan and the Pakistan Government which was defended by President Pervez Musharraf during his recent US visit was actually signed by pro-Taliban militants owing allegiance to Mullah Omar, a media report said today.

13 killed in Iraq attacks
Baghdad, October 14
At least 13 persons were killed in violence around Iraq today, while the authorities found the decapitated corpses of seven persons dumped north of Baghdad in what appeared to be a sectarian revenge killing.

Video

Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus reacts to the news.
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North Korean nuclear test won’t hit India’s interests
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

As the United Nations Security Council wrestles with a plan to punish North Korea for its reported nuclear test this week, the top Indian envoy in Washington says the communist nation’s actions are unlikely to affect a crucial deal to allow US civilian nuclear cooperation with India.

In an interview with this correspondent, Ronen Sen, India’s Ambassador to the US, said he didn’t think there would be any “negative repercussions in the US Congress with regard to the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement”.

“These two elements are entirely unrelated,” Mr Sen said. “While India is not a signatory to the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), it has never in any way undermined the regime.

“Our track record speaks for itself. In juxtaposition with such developments it shows how impeccable this record has been, and the fact that it has even been better than most members of the current nuclear suppliers group, let alone clandestine proliferation from our neighbourhood,” Mr Sen said.

The US House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the India civil nuclear cooperation Bill in July.

A similar version of the Bill is expected to come up for debate and a vote when the Senate meets in a lame-duck session on November 13.

However, a packed Senate schedule and partisan wrangling could delay this process.

California Congressman Tom Lantos, the Democratic co-chairman of the House International Relations Committee, told this correspondent that the nuclear test by North Korea “will not have a significant impact on congressional consideration of the US-India nuclear accord”.

A proponent of the deal, Mr Lantos was a key architect of the Indian civil nuclear Bill that was approved by the House of Representatives.

“India remains a strong, democratic friend of the US, and continues to play a responsible role on the international scene,” the congressman said, adding “civilian nuclear cooperation with India is being provided in this very positive bilateral context”.

Describing North Korea as “a brutal, authoritarian regime, which routinely disregards international norms”, Mr Lantos said: “Members of Congress will understand that the US should not hold up nuclear cooperation with a democratic friend simply because the brutal North Korean regime has decided to violate international security once again.”

The nonproliferation lobby in Washington has sought to link North Korea’s actions and the Indian nuclear deal saying both endanger the nonproliferation regime.

Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Henry L. Stimson Center in Washington, said North Korea’s actions “clarify how ill-advised the Bush administration was to make a relaxation of nuclear commerce the top-most agenda item for South Asia during its second term”.

Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association in Washington, contends North Korean leader Kim Jong-il may have been inspired to test a nuclear device in part because of the US response to India and Pakistan’s tests in 1998.

“The US and the international response to India and Pakistan’s nuclear tests has been one of tough criticism, sanctions and isolation but then gradual rapprochement and forgiveness,” Mr Kimball said.

“North Korea may be taking a lesson from this. They may believe this action also will eventually be accepted.”

The North Korean test is more likely to have an immediate fallout for Iran.

Walter Andersen, associate director of the South Asia studies programme at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, predicts the US and many of its allies, currently locked in a standoff with Iran over its nuclear programme, will get tougher on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“Iran will almost certainly be closely watching to see what the world will do. If nothing, Ahmadinejad will feel confident about moving ahead and may get less cooperative on NPT issues,” he said, adding “there will be a major body blow to the NPT if North Korea gets away with this with only a mild slap on the wrists”.

Robert Einhorn, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, agrees that if the US, China, and the rest of the United Nations Security Council impose tough penalties on North Korea, it may have a cautionary effect on Iran.

“Conversely, if the Security Council gets tied up in knots and can’t agree on tough measures, then Iran will believe it can continue along the path toward nuclear weapons with impunity,” Mr Einhorn said.

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Ban for strong action against N. Korea

United Nations, October 14
Sharply criticising the North Korean nuclear tests earlier this week, United Nations Secretary General-designate Ban Ki-moon has asked the world community to send out a "very strong, unified and clear" message to Pyongyang so that it would not have "any temptation to engage in further negative activities".

The strong remarks from Ban, currently South Korea's Foreign Minister, came at the first press conference he held within two hours of his election to the top United Nations post by the General Assembly for five years with acclamation and without vote amidst cheers yesterday.

He expressed confidence that the Council would make North Korea aware of the "determined will of the international community" against it possessing or experimenting with nuclear weapons.

He said the Iranian nuclear issue, humanitarian crisis in Darfur, the Middle East and conflicts in Africa call for a concerted approach. — PTI

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Sharif “solely decided on Kargil”

Islamabad, October 14
Denying claims that he had asked Nawaz Sharif to “arrange” a ceasefire in Kargil with the US’ help, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has said the deposed former premier had gone to Washington without consulting him and “solely decided on Kargil”.

Musharraf said in the July 2, 1999, defence committee meeting, Sharif opposed the “surrender of troops in Kargil and (said) the Pakistan army should not return in any case.”

“Sharif is now blaming me for the entire thing because I asked him to save us from Kargil,” said Musharraf who had claimed in his book ‘In the Line of Fire’ that he briefed Sharif on Kargil during special meetings from May to July ‘99.

Mushrraf’s response came days after Sharif’s PML-N released a ‘fact-sheet’ which claimed that the General had panicked when the 1999 Kargil conflict broke out with India and sought Sharif’s intervention in the July 2, 1999, defence committee meeting, urging him to save him and the army by arranging a ceasefire with the help of the USA.

The General said Sharif had not consulted him about his plan to visit Washington to meet President Bill Clinton.

Musharraf said he went to Murree, (a holiday resort) after the (July 2, 1999) meeting as the next meeting on Kargil was scheduled for July 5. “I received Sharif’s call in Murree at around 9 pm, and he asked me to reach Chaklala airport immediately. When I got to the airport, I saw Nawaz Sharif ready to fly to the USA.”

In an interview to local ARY TV, Musharraf said Sharif went on to the USA and “solely decided on Kargil”.

Denying that Sharif was kept in dark about Kargil, a visibly angry President said, “I call Raja Zafarul Haq a liar if he does not speak the truth now because he attended the (July 2, 1999) meeting.”

Musharraf had claimed to have briefed Sharif in meetings in Northern Areas well before the Kargil operations were launched. — PTI

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Pro-Taliban militants signed deal with Pak: report

Islamabad, October 14
The much-talked about deal between tribal elders in Waziristan and the Pakistan Government which was defended by President Pervez Musharraf during his recent US visit was actually signed by pro-Taliban militants owing allegiance to Mullah Omar, a media report said today.

The agreement, which aroused suspicion all around was signed with militants and not with tribal elders, as is being officially claimed, it said. — PTI

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13 killed in Iraq attacks

Baghdad, October 14
At least 13 persons were killed in violence around Iraq today, while the authorities found the decapitated corpses of seven persons dumped north of Baghdad in what appeared to be a sectarian revenge killing.

In central Baghdad, two bombs exploded in a parking lot in the Rasheed district shortly before 1:00 pm (830 IST), killing one person and injuring four others, police Lt. Bilal Ali said. The bombs, hidden in a pair of parked cars, set other cars and a nearby building aflame, Ali said.

The decapitated bodies were found late yesterday in an orchard in the city of Duluiyah, 75 km north of Baghdad.

The three had been among a group of 17 construction workers kidnapped on Thursday while travelling home to the predominantly Shiite town of Balad, the police said. The corpses of the other 14 workers were found earlier yesterday, also all beheaded. — AP

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