India hopes US will keep Pakistan's track record in mind

As it keeps a close watch on the developments, India says the "right balance" has to be struck between meeting Pakistan's energy needs and its history of proliferation.
"We hope international community would strike the right balance between meeting energy needs of any country while taking on board its track record with regard to proliferation of nuclear technology and weapons of mass destruction," official sources said.

The comment came in the wake of US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson reportedly saying the US was "beginning to have a discussion with the Pakistan government" on the country's desire to tap nuclear energy.

She noted that earlier America's "non-proliferation concerns were quite severe" but "I think we are beginning to pass those and this is a scenario that we are going to explore."Patterson said "working level talks" on the issue would be held in Washington this month.

The statement marks a significant shift in the US position as it had earlier repeatedly turned down Pakistan's pleas for India-type civil nuclear deal. The US had been arguing that Pakistan's track record was not as good as that of India, which had a strong history of non-proliferation.

US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer refused to comment when his attention was drawn to Patterson's remarks, saying he was working full time on implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The US move invited strong reactions from political parties here, with BJP and the Left asking it to reconsider any such initiative."I feel that it (nuclear deal between US and Pakistan) is a very sensitive issue. The US should think whether this help is going to create more terrorism in the world," BJP President Nitin Gadkari said.

Noting that Pakistan supports terrorism, he said there would be problems for the world if the US gives nuclear technology or defence help to it.CPI leader D Raja said the US move reflected its "very narrow, selfish vested interests".He said the US had so far been encouraging arms race but now it is going to promote nuclear arms race because of its "large business interest".

Contending that he was not surprised by such a move of the US, Raja said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the government "cannot be so naive not to understand the US' global strategy" which is seen in play in South Asia as well.

"Pakistan and India should be aware of the simple fact that the US has got a large business interest. Even the so-called civil nuclear cooperation is nothing but to promote their own business interests and here this is going to lead to some kind of nuclear arms race," the CPI leader said.

He said it could be understandable if nuclear race was for peaceful activity and development. "But seeing the record of the US and Pakistan, I don't think, all this is happening."

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