India likely to work for diminishing role of nuclear weapons: US

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : The US believes India’s decision to participate in the Global Security Summit in April shows it would work for diminishing the role of nuclear weapons in global security despite its steadfast refusal to sign the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

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This signals a continuation of a trend witnessed at multilateral groupings such as the G-20 and the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday giving the intelligence community’s Annual Threat Assessment.

“In multilateral groupings such as the G-20 and the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change, India has reaffirmed its support for various strategic outcomes participating nations hope to achieve in specific negotiations, even though India’s near- to mid-term negotiating positions are reflective of unilateral targets and goals,” he noted.

“India’s recent decision to participate in the April 2010 Global Security Summit signals a continuation of this trend, as New Delhi is likely to pursue longer terms goals to diminish the numbers and role of nuclear weapons in global security even as the country remains steadfast in its refusal to sign the nuclear Non -proliferation Treaty,” Blair said.

“As one of the engines of the global economy, India continues to demonstrate the potential for strong growth in 2010,” he said providing the threat assessment reflecting the views of 16 intelligence agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“India, under Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh’s leadership, remains an attractive location for investment and economic opportunities,” Blair said taking note of Indian Government data showing that net portfolio inflows for the first half of the Indian fiscal year which began on 1 April 2009, were almost $18 billion.

Noting that World Bank reporting from December 2009 also confirms that India is likely to return to 8 to 9 percent GDP growth rates within the next two years, the intelligence chief said: “In keeping with its status as an emerging world power, the Government of India exerts strong leadership in global and regional fora and in important bilateral relationships.”

Since its return to power in the May 2009 national elections, the UPA-led government also has begun efforts to improve regional relationships through advocacy of greater economic links among South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations, the assessment noted.

“Indian political leaders, moreover, have publicly declared that the continuing rise of China and India on the global political and economic stages is not a harbinger of automatic conflict, but rather a constructive challenge to India’s economic rise and an opportunity for innovation and collaboration by two strong powers,” Blair said.

India’s relationship with Pakistan, however, remains stalled in the aftermath of the November 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai conducted by groups operating from Pakistani soil, he noted.

Indian leaders have also stated repeatedly that “Pakistani efforts to prosecute those individuals who are charged with involvement in the attack are the sine qua non for resuming broad dialogue with Pakistan on other significant bilateral issues, including Kashmir,” the assessment said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])