Thursday, April 1, 2010

$1.9 billion Nuclear Deal with China. Nuclear Deal with the US a matter of time : Indian Abroad

WASHINGTON, March 30: A US nuclear deal with Pakistan is simply a matter of time, says a report distributed on Tuesday by the India Abroad news service.

The New York-based news agency, widely used by publications in India, disputed speculations that Pakistan made little gains in last week’s strategic dialogue with the US.

The report claimed that when the Pakistani delegation to the strategic dialogue asked for nuclear power plants, the US response was that “this could be discussed”.

“The US has nothing to lose by signing a nuclear deal with Pakistan. In fact, it will gain by nuclear trade with Pakistan, which will have no qualms about meeting the American conditions,” the report said.

“US diplomats say that the good thing with Pakistanis is that they do what they are asked to do, while the Indians would give twenty reasons why it cannot be done.”

The report also claimed that the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the International Atomic Energy Agency board would also succumb to the US pressure as they did after Washington signed a nuclear deal with New Delhi.

The report noted that more than a year ago a US think-tank study suggested that a nuclear deal for Pakistan was desirable on the same ground that worked in the Indian case -- a partly regulated Pakistani nuclear system would serve the cause of non-proliferation more than a totally unregulated one.

The report pointed out that during the Afghan war, US presidents had repeatedly certified that Pakistan had no nuclear weapons, when they knew well that China was filling Pakistan cupboards with fissile material.

“If Chinese collaboration did not hurt the US then, there is no reason why it should hurt the US now?” the report asked.

The Indian media also claimed that Pakistan had finalised its own civilian nuclear deal with China.

The media noted that an agreement was reached last week before Islamabad’s high-level strategic talks with Washington. The deal calls for China to provide loans and technical aid to Pakistan to build two atomic power facilities, the Daily Times reported. Informed sources said Beijing would loan Pakistan more than 80 per cent of the project’s $1.9 billion cost.

The news agency also reported that while the US would not do mediation in Kashmir, it would bring pressure on both India and Pakistan to shelve the issue, if not to resolve it. “The US position remains that the solution of Kashmir is ‘LoC Plus’, with the ‘Plus’ left undefined.”

During the Kargil conflict, the report noted, the then US President Bill Clinton was as adamant that India should not cross the LoC as he was about Pakistan withdrawing to the LOC on their side. “Available reports indicate that this is exactly what India and Pakistan are seeking through the back channels.”

On the Kashmir issue, the report noted, the US could gain more by appearing not to intervene as it did not need to take the blame for delay or failure. Yet, “the US DNA will be visible all over the place if a solution breaks out”.

The biggest gain for Pakistan from the Washington parleys, according to the report, was the roadmap, drawn for America’s exit from the Pak-Afghan region by 2011.

“This will involve greater Pakistani war efforts, for which Pakistan will be compensated by a speedy disbursement of the Coalition Support Fund,” the report added.

“But more importantly, Pakistan has received assurances that no dispensation in Afghanistan will be inimical to Pakistani interests and that Pakistan will have a say in the determination of the future of the region.”

The report warned: “India would definitely not be part of the new order if the US could help it. Pakistan’s gains in this area are considerable. This is where the relationship between the US and Pakistan has turned into a partnership and Foreign Minister Qureshi has become ‘a happy man, a satisfied man’.”