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India’s World – Indian concern over a US-Pak Nuclear deal

India’s World – Indian concern over a US-Pak Nuclear deal

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Summary:

India has voiced concern over reports that the US is considering a nuclear agreement with Pakistan on lines of India US civil nuclear cooperation deal. The outlines of a potential nuclear agreement between US and Pakistan were recently revealed in a magazine in the US. This is also being termed as a diplomatic blockbuster. US is exploring possible new limits and controls over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems. Such an accord might eventually open a path towards a Pakistani version of the civil nuclear deal that was launched with India in 2005.

Under the agreement, Pakistan might also be asked to restrict its nuclear programs to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defence needs against Indian nuclear threats. In return, the US may support Pakistan by sharing nuclear technology for civilian purposes. Ever since India and US signed such a deal, Pakistan had been demanding for similar agreement with the US.

However, the US has refused to confirm or deny the news. Experts have warned that this progress could be slow and difficult as Pakistan prizes its nuclear program and it’s not clear if Pakistan is willing to accept the limitations that would be required. Previously, administrations both under Presidents Bush and President Obama, had knocked down the idea of a deal for Pakistan like the one US arrived at with India, saying the background and circumstances surrounding the US-India civilian nuclear agreement was entirely different, and pointing to Pakistan’s record of nuclear proliferation.

In recent months, Pakistan has tried to project itself as a responsible nuclear power, although some of its politicians brandish the country’s nuclear weapons to assure themselves and their constituents about security against India. Pakistan has around 100 nuclear warheads in its arsenal. Whereas India has around 80, but Pakistan is also projected to become the world’s third largest in a decade, based on its production targets. The US and Russia have the largest stockpile with an estimated 1,600 each. France, China and UK are next with 300, 250 and 225 respectively. Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal worries the world given its proliferation history and growing presence of extremists.