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US-India n-deal good for non-proliferation: Rice


Washington : Indirectly discounting Pakistan’s attempt to oppose India at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said India’s clean non-proliferation record would see the US-India nuclear deal through the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Speaking to journalists in Perth, Australia, Friday, Rice said the agreement not only serves the interests of the US-Indian strategic relationship and that of India in terms of its needs for energy that is not hydrocarbons-based, but it also serves the interests of the non-proliferation regime.

In a transcript of her remarks made available on the US Department of State website, Rice said: “India is not a party to the NPT (non-proliferation treaty), but the regime, the broader regime, is one in which even non-NPT states need to take certain obligations in terms of proliferation, and India has a good record in terms of proliferation.

“And the fact that Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the IAEA, has been supportive of this deal, I think, supports the notion that this is good for the international non-proliferation regime.”

In the run up to the deal coming up for discussion before the IAEA Board of Governors and the NSG, Rice said she has sought Australia’s support for the deal – as has the Indian side – and “found a very open hearing and listener”.

For his part, Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, who accompanied Rice at the press conference, cited his government’s ban on exporting uranium to a country that is not a party to the NPT, but added, the nuclear deal “is a separate matter”.

Australia’s position on the deal is that “we would put our mind to the detail of the agreement” when it emerges in the IAEA and the NSG, he said.

“We’re looking at it in a positive and constructive manner. And we’re also, as I’ve made clear consistently to the US and India, when we do that assessment, looking very carefully at the strategic importance that both the US and India place on this arrangement,” Smith said.