Chinese reactors to Pak irk India

New Delhi to raise issue with Beijing at UN meet

China’s latest move to supply two new reactors to Pakistan for an atomic power plant in Karachi has raised hackles in India.

Apart from articulating its reservation over growing China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation in international forums, New Delhi will also convey its concerns to Beijing during or after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the communist country in the fourth week of October.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid expressed New Delhi’s concerns over China-Pakistan nuclear ties during his interaction with Chinese journalists who were in New Delhi for the first India-China media-forum.

“Although you have a relationship with them, and we have no problem that you have a relationship with them, our concern in your relationship with Pakistan is only about the impact on nuclear non-proliferation,” he added.

The Ministry of External Affairs made public the transcript of External Affairs Minister’s interaction with media-persons from China.

Khurshid flagged New Delhi’s concerns amid reports that Beijing had recently struck a deal with Islamabad for supplying two ACP1000 reactors for Karachi Coastal Nuclear Power Project in Pakistan.

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission signed the contract with China National Nuclear Corporation in Shanghai in the last week of August. The cost of the two 1100 MWe ACP1000 units has been estimated to be $ 9.6 billion. Pakistan’s Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved funds for the project in July. Pakistan’s nuclear programme has been under international scrutiny ever since the country’s top nuclear scientist A Q Khan’s clandestine proliferation network came to light.

New Delhi is likely to raise the issue again when Khurshid meets his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York next week.

 Beijing in 2010 confirmed that Chinese and Pakistani officials had signed an agreement to finance the construction of two nuclear reactors to be built by the China National Nuclear Corporation at the Chashma Nuclear Power Complex in Pakistan.

China claimed that its obligations as a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group could not stop it from supplying Pakistan with two new reactors as the new deal was in accordance with an old nuke cooperation agreement Beijing had signed with Islamabad long before becoming a member of the 46-nation cartel in 2004.

China had earlier built two reactors for Pakistan. The US and several other NSG members had refused to accept China’s argument to defend its growing nuclear cooperation with Pakistan.

The NSG guidelines prohibit its members to enter into nuke ties with countries which have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Neither India, nor Pakistan has signed the NPT. New Delhi, however, in 2008 secured a waiver from the NSG, which cleared the hurdle for the US-India nuclear cooperation.

“The kind of relationship China had with Pakistan 20 years ago need not be there today. And, therefore, it is not necessary for China to, shall we say, tie itself to policy formulations that are concentrated on Pakistan,” Khurshid told media-persons from China.

He also expressed New Delhi’s concerns over Beijing’s role in building infrastructure in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“If you were building the highway between Islamabad and Karachi, we would not even think twice. But if there is a highway that is being built in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, then we have to consider and speak to you and say, look is it necessary, is it possible that you tone down your concentration here,” said Khurshid.

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