US wants India as 'major player' in a new NPT regime: Hillary

US wants India as 'major player' in a new NPT regime: Hillary

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech on nonproliferation before the US Institute of Peace in Washington on Wednesday. AP

"The nuclear accord that I supported as a Senator, and the Obama administration supports it as a government, is embedded in a broader strategic dialogue with Indians," she said in an address on non-proliferation issues at the US Institute of Peace think tank Wednesday.

"We view the relationship as comprehensive and very deep in terms of the issues we wish to explore with our Indian counterparts and the areas where we are either already or look to cooperate," Clinton said.

In this context, underlining the significance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Washington Nov 24, she said: "I think it is very significant that the first official visit in the Obama Administration will be in November when Prime Minister Singh arrives."

"Obviously, we have a lot of confidence in the Indians and a lot of confidence in their approach," Clinton said when asked if the Obama Administration will do anything differently from the Bush Administration in implementing the nuclear accord.

"And we are going to be working closely with them, including American companies that will be part of implementing the reactor sites that are part of the agreement.

"But we want India to be part of our overall non-proliferation efforts," she said. "And we want them to really be a major player at the table in trying to figure out how, starting from where we are right now, we go forward in an effective, verifiable manner to reinstate a non-proliferation regime that can prevent further countries acquiring nuclear weapons, or even peaceful nuclear capacity without the safeguards that we envision."
"So - India we see as a full partner in this effort, and we look forward to working with them as we try to come up with the 21st century version of the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty)," Clinton said.

Suggesting that the landmark India-US nuclear deal was unique, Clinton made it clear that it would not be used as a template for agreements to offer peaceful nuclear energy to other countries, but in general it could help create a better verification and safeguard regime.

"The agreement is one that reflects the negotiations between India and the United States. We're not going to claim or use it as a template in its specifics," she said.
"But in general, the kind of efforts to offer peaceful nuclear energy, while at the same time having safeguards and verification that will prevent others from going beyond the peaceful use of nuclear energy, is something that we are looking at very closely," Clinton added.

"The so-called 123 agreements that have been negotiated or are in the midst of being negotiated with other countries raise a lot of the same issues," she said.

"The goal here is to create a better verification and safeguard regime to look for ways to provide the fuel cycle that doesn't spin into its use for non-peaceful purposes."

Pakistan for one has been citing the India-US deal to seek a similar deal, while Iran has pointed at it as to assert its right to pursue its nuclear programme.

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