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t r u t h o u t | 10.24
Fallout of US-India Nuke Deal
Friday 24 October 2008
by: Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor
The concern among South Asia experts and nonproliferation advocates is that the American deal allowing
"You can't help but hear about China supplying Pakistan with nuclear power plants and see it as a reaction to the US-India deal," says
That "something else" - whether a result of
Announcement of China's intentions to add two nuclear plants to the Chinese-built one Pakistan already has came during a visit by Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, to Beijing last week.
Pakistan's foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told reporters after the visit that Chinese officials are sympathetic to
US Had Claimed No Nuclear Race
Still, the announcement left many questions unanswered, regional analysts say, including how Pakistan would pay for the projects when it is in a deep economic crisis and seeking aid from the International Monetary Fund to avoid defaulting on billions of dollars in debt.
Mr. Zardari returned to Islamabad without the billions in loans he is believed to have sought from China, so speculation has arisen that the nuclear deal was something of a consolation prize. "It could be a political fig leaf, since Zardari didn't get the financial package he wanted, or China could be legitimately concerned about the US-India deal, it's hard to know," says Jon Wolfsthal, a nonproliferation expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
What is clear, he says, is that the US-India deal - which gives
As it pressed earlier this year for international approval of its pact with India from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) - an assembly of countries that seeks to control proliferation of nuclear weapons by limiting export of nuclear fuel and materials - the US made the case that India had been a responsible steward of its nuclear materials and had earned special treatment.
US officials on various occasions have stressed that the deal would not open the door to a nuclear race in
Some nonproliferation advocates worry that the China-Pakistan deal - and the international silence that has met the announcement so far - could suggest that determination to control nuclear proliferation is weakening.
"India's silence suggests, if anything, that they are smiling on this, so the question is, why?" says Henry Sokolski, executive director of the
Still, he says that does not explain why US officials and members of Congress who questioned the deal with
He adds that, contrary to the US-promoted notion,
At the same time Krepon says
Another explanation for
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