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India’s fear: Secret US-Pak deal
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
India has taken a positive view of the US snub to Pakistan over its demand for a civil nuclear accord similar to the Indo-US deal while cautioning Washington to ensure that the aid being given to Islamabad was not diverted towards military activities.

However, New Delhi is closely watching the outcome of the much-talked about strategic dialogue between Islamabad and Washington for any sign of a secret deal on Afghanistan. sThe situation in Afghanistan was of direct concern to India and any deal with the Taliban could push the war-torn nation back into medieval times, sources said.

Officials here heaved a sigh of relief after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton evaded a direct reply when asked if the Obama administration was prepared to discuss a civilian nuclear deal with Pakistan at the end of talks between the two countries in Washington.

The sources clarified that India was not opposed to any country coming to the rescue of another in meeting its energy requirements. “We are not opposed to cooperation in civil nuclear energy field but the international community must adopt a balanced approach in the matter…it must verify the proliferation record of certain countries,” the sources added. They were obviously referring to Pakistan’s clandestine nuclear programme and its dubious proliferation record.

On Washington’s proposal to move forward with 125- million dollars energy-sector projects to Pakistan, the sources said Islamabad has always in the past used non-military aid given to it by Western nations for military projects. The international community must have a mechanism to monitor if Pakistan was using the aid for the purpose it was meant..

On Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmud Qureshi’s statement that India would have to very soon revisit its policy of engaging Pakistan, the sources said New Delhi’s position in the matter was quite unambiguous. “We’re willing to go the extra mile in relations with Pakistan if it takes sincere and credible action against those behind the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack,’’ they added.

Strategic experts, meanwhile, said India should not become complacent after the US decision to deny Pakistan a nuclear deal.



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