M A I N   N E W S

N-deal with US may fail, says report

Washington, April 13
The landmark Indo-US nuclear deal risks collapse as Indian demands, including the right to continue testing nuclear weapons, undermine the US rationale for seeking the deal, a media report today said.

India is making demands that will increase, “not lessen”, its military nuclear capabilities and at the same time it has developed closer ties with Iran, the report quoted senior administration officials and nuclear experts as saying.

“The Indians are being greedy,” Henry Sokolski, head of the Non-proliferation Policy Education Center, said according to the report in USA Today. He has said the agreement may not be implemented before the Bush administration leaves office.

Senior state department official Nicholas Burns, the undersecretary of state, who was in charge of the tough negotiations, has acknowledged that three rounds of talks with India have produced little.

“I don’t question India’s goodwill,” Burns said. “But there is a fair degree of frustration in Washington that the Indian government has not engaged seriously enough or quickly enough with both the US and the IAEA,” he said.

There is no deadline for completion of the deal, but two unnamed senior Bush administration officials said India’s demands could torpedo an agreement.

According to the report, the officials have said that India wants “permission to buy uranium-enrichment and plutonium-reprocessing technology from the US, both have military applications and sales are prohibited in most cases by US law. New Delhi has also sought no limits on testing nuclear weapons. The administration has reportedly told India that the US reserves the right to terminate nuclear cooperation if India tests again. — PTI



Don’t destabilise region: US

Washington, April 13
The Bush administration has cautioned Asian nations not to do anything that would “destabilise” the region after India successfully tested its nuclear-capable Agni III missile, while maintaining that New Delhi demonstrated “responsibility” with respect to prevention of weapons proliferation including nuclear technology.

US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack, while admitting that he could not verify the characteristics of the latest Indian missile test, urged governments of the region to work within the parameters of agreements on prior notification regarding missile tests.

“The Indians do have an active missile programme. And typically what they do under their agreements with the Pakistani government is there’s a prior notification.”

“I can’t verify for you at this point that that did take place in these circumstances. What we have - what we urge all the governments in the region to do, India, Pakistan included, is to work within the constraints of the agreements that they have regarding notification and also not take any actions that would be destabilising to the balance in the region,” he said.

Asked if India’a latest missile test can be considered as an action that could destabilise the region, the spokesman replied: “I’d have to check to see if this is something that is technically different or goes beyond the previous technical, demonstrated capabilities of the Indian government, the Indian military, in launching the missile.” — PTI



Brazil ‘open minded’ on Nuke deal

New Delhi, April 13
Brazil today said it had an "open mind" on its support to the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear agreement in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), of which it is a member. The two countries also reaffirmed their commitment to the G-4 initiative for UN Security Council reforms.

Brazil would be sending a team of nuclear experts to India for discussions on the subject.

This was the upshot of Brazilian Minister of External Relations Celso Amorim's talks with the Indian leadership.

Amorim concluded his three-day official visit to India today. — TNS



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