US Committed to India N-deal Despite Japan Disaster

Washington, March 19 (IANS) The United States has said that it remains very much committed to its civil nuclear deal with India despite the Japanese nuclear disaster though nuclear industry worldwide would need to assess its impact.

"No. We remain very much committed to pursuing civil nuclear cooperation with India," US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake said at a media roundtable in Beijing Friday when asked if there was a reconsideration of the India deal in view of the Japanese disaster.

Asked to clarify US position on the Chinese-Pakistan nuclear deal, he said the US expected China to abide by the commitments that it made when it joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2004.

"In particular we think the construction of new nuclear reactors such as the Chasma 3 and 4 would be inconsistent with those commitments," Blake said. "That remains our longstanding position."

According to a transcript issued by the State Department here, he said the US had been very clear in the NSG context about that position, "but we've also been very clear on the need to support Pakistan's energy development."

"What I'd like to emphasise is that it's very important that on the one hand China observe its NSG obligations, but on the other hand, that the international community do as much as possible to help Pakistan to meet its energy needs," Blake said.

But he believed there's a lot that can be done in non-nuclear areas that help do that.

Asked if India had expressed its concerns or asked US to do more in regard to the China-Pakistan deal, Blake said: "Not beyond what we've already talked about which is again, to hold Pakistan [sic] to its NSG commitments."

"I think that's their principal concern as well. They I think also understand that Pakistan has severe energy needs and that this affects internal stability and therefore it's important for all countries to help Pakistan to meet its own energy needs."

Asked to comment on suggestions that the US is using India as a hedge against China, Blake said the US "considers India to be probably one of the defining partnerships for us in the 21st Century."

"In terms of how that reflects on China, we support growing relations between India and China and we have reassured our friends in China that growing relations between the United States and India will not come at China's expense. "We want to see the growth of our relations with China, our relations with India, and India's relations with China," he said.


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