‘US not worried about India’s nuclear plants post Mumbai attacks’

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The US has said that it was “not really worried” about the security and protection of India’s nuclear power plants in the wake of the Mumbai attacks that India has blamed on a Pakistan-based terrorist group.

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“A nuclear power plant is not a hotel. You protect it differently,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher said in Beijing last week after talks with Chinese officials in the wake of the Nov 26 terror attacks.

“I think one can expect that in helping India build nuclear power plants that they will also be built with adequate security and protection for the environment that they might face. So I wouldn’t really worry about that too much,” he said when asked if the attacks gave US any cause for pause about expansion of civilian nuclear power in India.

“I don’t think Mumbai says anything about the vulnerability of nuclear power plants,” he added, according to a transcript released here Thursday by the State Department.

Boucher said the India-US civil nuclear deal came up for reference in only passing in talks with the Chinese that primarily focused on Pakistan, India and Afghanistan after the Mumbai terror attacks that claimed over 170 lives.

“We didn’t really talk about the US-India nuclear deal very much. It sort of came up in passing as one of the things where we had found a way to cooperate recently,” he said when asked about Beijing’s earlier reported misgivings about the India deal.

“China, as you know, in the end supported the deal at the Nuclear Suppliers Group in Vienna,” Boucher noted.

“We worked through a lot of issues with a lot of countries, including China, but in the end the whole group, everybody supported it, including China. So we welcome that and we’re glad to be together on that. That was about the extent of the discussion,” he said.