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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

India-China: Nuclear ambiguity

Despite the high level Indian political engagement with the Chinese leadership in recent weeks — the foreign ministers met earlier this month in New Delhi, the National Security Adviser traveled to China a few days later and the two prime ministers talked in New York last week — Beijing’s ambiguity on the Indo-US nuclear deal persists.

A commentary in the latest issue of ‘Beijing Review’ remained sceptical in its assessment of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group’s decision on September 6 to support the Indo-US nuclear deal. On the one hand, the analysis by Pang Sen, the Director General of UN Associations in China, offers some sense of realism that has entirely escaped our own communists. “The NSG’s decision is a diplomatic victory for India as it is a tacit acceptance of India’s absence from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a declaration of forgiveness for the nuclear weapon tests conducted in 1998, which at the time were mostly condemned by the international community”.

In a punchline, Pang Sen adds, “When a gigantic and growing economy defies the world and demonstrates its nuclear abilities, economic might wins out in the end”.

India’s rise and its nuclear differentiation from Pakistan, however, is a major concern for China. “Pakistan, India’s neighbour and rival, clearly has reason to worry”, the ‘Review’ says.”Regional stability and the global non-proliferation regime would have been better served”, Pang Sen argues by quoting Islamabad’s reaction, “if the US had considered a package approach for both India and Pakistan, which conducted its first nuclear weapon tests two weeks after India”.”China hopes the NSG will equally address the aspirations of all parties (read Pakistan) for the peaceful use of nuclear power”, he said. “Only time will tell”, the analysis concludes on an ambiguous note, “Whether the NSG decision would turn out to be a blessing or a blow to the international non-proliferation regime”.

(Source: Indian Express)

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