Friday, July 25, 2008
Pakistan warned the international community yesterday that a deal allowing India to import US atomic fuel and technology could accelerate a nuclear arms race between Delhi and Islamabad.
The warning was made in a letter addressed to more than 60 nations as the Indian Government, having survived a no-confidence vote on Tuesday, dispatched diplomats to clear the deal with international regulators.
Later, in a concession to Islamabad, the United States said that it planned to shift $230 million (£116 million) in aid to Pakistan away from counter-terrorism to upgrading its F16 fighter jets seen as crucial for maintaining military parity with India. That announcement came four days before Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, is due to meet President Bush at the White House for talks on co-operation in combating Islamic extremists.
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Pakistan is a key US ally in the War on Terror and has long complained that India’s nuclear deal, agreed in 2005, will upset the strategic balance of South Asia by endorsing it as a nuclear weapons state.
India and Pakistan both tested nuclear weapons in 1999, but cannot buy nuclear supplies from most countries because they refuse to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The nuclear deal bypasses that by lifting a US ban on nuclear sales to India imposed after Delhi tested its first nuclear device in 1974.
This article was posted: Friday, July 25, 2008 at 9:56 am