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US wants India to sign NPT along with Pak, Israel, N Korea

Lalit K Jha/PTI  |  Washington 

I / Washington May 6, 2009, 12:39 IST

US wants India along with Pakistan, Israel and North Korea to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a top Obama administration official has said.

"Universal adherence to the NPT itself - including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea - remains a fundamental objective of the US," Rose Gottemoeller, Assistant Secretary of State said in her opening remarks at the Third Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 NPT Review Conference being held at the UN headquarters in New York.

India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea are not signatories to the NPT, which so far has been signed by as many as 189 countries.

However, later she praised India's willingness to proceed with a fissile material cut-off treaty in cooperation with the United States and its willingness to pursue the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) as well as other lesser, but important measures such as improving its export control.

Talking to reporters after her participation in the meeting, Gottemoeller said the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, along with several other steps taken by New Delhi in the recent past, has brought India closer to the NPT.

"So I would say that India is coming closer to the non-proliferation regime, and that too is an important goal of the US foreign policy," she said.

"I would say that with regard to India's agreement with the US on peaceful nuclear uses that the US has been able to agree with India to undertake a number of activities that would bring it in closure cooperation with other countries in the general non-proliferation regime," Gottemoeller said.

She was responding to a question on statements made by certain countries at the meeting, which without mentioning India were critical of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

"The US consistent policy has been to support the universality of the non proliferation treaty and that includes India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea," she said. However, the US official did not respond to a question on what policies the Obama Administration wants to follow to ensure that these countries sign the NPT.

Earlier, in her speech at the Preparatory Committee meeting she said: "We must redouble our efforts to update IAEA safeguards technologies and convince those NPT parties that have not yet done so to bring into force the comprehensive IAEA safeguards agreements".

US President Barack Obama in a message to the PrepCom meeting recalled his speech against nuclear proliferation at Prague on April 5 and asked governments to pursue common ground, rather than focusing on differences.

Obama had said in Prague: "Rules must be binding.

Violations must be punished... The world must stand together to prevent the spread of these weapons".

First Published: Wed, May 06 2009. 12:39 IST