India on Monday reacted with palpable unhappiness to reports that the US was willing to discuss a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna drawing attention to its "clandestine activities" in the field.
Krishna was guarded in his comments but Opposition parties like BJP and the Left cautioned the US against such a move. "The US should think whether this help is going to create more terrorism in the world," BJP President Nitin Gadkari said. "I think, the US would always look into the track record of every country with which they are going for certain understanding or signing a treaty.
"I am sure that the US will constantly remember that the proliferation of nuclear weapons was because of certain indiscretions of certain countries and more particularly Pakistan and the clandestine activities which they carried on," Krishna said.
He said this aspect "will have to be kept in mind...I am sure the US will". The reports that the US was willing to discuss with Islamabad a civil nuclear deal, similar to that with India, were based on remarks attributed to US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson who was quoted as saying the US was "beginning to have a discussion with the Pakistan government" on the country's desire to tap nuclear energy.
She noted that earlier America's "non-proliferation concerns were quite severe" but "I think we are beginning to pass those and this is a scenario that we are going to explore". But there was no confirmation of these moves from Washington.
US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer sidestepped a question on the issue, saying he was working full time on implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal. Gadkari also noted that Pakistan supports terrorism, he said there would be problems for the world if the US gives nuclear technology or defence help to it. CPI leader D Raja said the US move reflected its "very narrow, selfish vested interests". He said the US had so far been encouraging arms race but now it is going to promote nuclear arms race because of its "large business interest". PTI