US Will Not Push India to Sign Nuclear Treaties

By Arun Kumar

Washington, Apr 8 (IANS): Expressing appreciation for the responsible manner in which India has behaved on non-proliferation issues, the US has said it will not push India to sign either the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) any time soon.

However, the US wanted India, which has declined to sign the NPT and CTBT on the grounds that they are discriminatory, to work with the Obama administration to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.

"The US and India have increasingly become partners in this area of dealing with the global proliferation threat with the threat of nuclear terrorism," a top Obama aide told reporters Wednesday appreciating India's principled opposition to the NPT.

"We talk about these issues on a bilateral and on a multilateral basis with India quite frequently," Robert J. Einhorn, special US advisor Non Proliferation and Arms Control, told reporters Wednesday.

"We appreciate and understand India's attitude toward the non-proliferation treaty. It's a longstanding attitude, a position of principle. What's especially important to us is that India behave in a responsible manner."

"And it has behaved in a responsible manner. India's not going to join the NPT for quite some time, if at all. We understand that. But we want India to work with us in strengthening the non-proliferation regime."

Einhorn also made it clear that the US would not push India to sign CTBT until the US Senate ratifies it. "Once we have ratified, we'll be in discussions with India about how to bring this important treaty into force," he said.

In terms of the CTBT, the administration will press hard for Senate ratification of the treaty, and "then we will work with other countries to bring it into force".

"Bringing it into force means that the US and India and Pakistan and China and a number of other countries must ratify it. And we will be in discussions with India (once it is ratified by the Senate)," Einhorn said.

Countries that have not joined the NPT, and countries like China, which have joined the NPT, Einhorn said, "we call on all countries, whether they've chosen to join the NPT or not, to work together to limit, to prevent, the threat of further nuclear proliferation".

The US also expects a "responsible" India to play an important role in strengthening the global non-proliferation regime.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters here Tuesday: "I think India, will play an important role both in the national security summit next week as well as the NPT review conference in May."

He was responding to a question about what role US visualised for India at next week's global nuclear security summit here, which would bring together leaders from 47 nations, including Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Suggesting that the nuclear non-proliferation regime is under considerable threat especially because of the non-compliance of North Korea and Iran, another top official said: "At the NPT review conference coming up in May, it's important that we work together on a strong consensus to strengthen this regime.

"And that requires not just countries that have signed the treaty, but countries that haven't signed the treaty," James N. Miller, principal deputy secretary of defence policy said.


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