ASEAN fears Indo-Pak nuclear arms race
Sinha heads for ASEAN meet
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Asia-Pacific nations fear tensions between India and Pakistan could erupt into a nuclear arms race, saying it is the “central
consideration” in assessing regional security.
“The ministers expressed the hope that India and Pakistan would take all necessary steps to defuse tension,” said a draft communiqué to be delivered at the end of the ASEAN
Regional Forum (ARF), which includes India.
“Ministers noted that the danger of a nuclear arms race in South Asia remained a central consideration in assessing the wider Asia-Pacific security
The document, sighted by AFP Monday, called on both countries to “resume immediate dialogue... and resolve their differences through peaceful means to restore and maintain peace
It was drawn up by senior officials from the 23-member ARF, which includes the established nuclear powers the United States, China and Russia, and will be delivered at the end of their annual meeting on Wednesday.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) foreign ministers, who end their annual meeting here Tuesday, will also issue a statement urging India and Pakistan to “restore and maintain” peace.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell has visited both New Delhi and Islamabad en route to Brunei for the ARF meeting but achieved no apparent easing
Powell acknowledged the fact that his visit was not aimed at any immediate breakthroughs.
“I am satisfied with the visit, it was not (as though) we were on the eve of war,” he said
“This was just an effort to keep the momentum moving.”
Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha was to leave for Brunei late on Monday to attend the annual meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum, where he is also due to hold several rounds of bilateral talks.
Sinha is to meet a number of Asian leaders as well as hold talks with a senior United States official, Indian foreign ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said, without elaborating.
The foreign ministry spokeswoman said Sinha would hold bilateral talks with officials from, among other countries, China, Japan, Brunei, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia and Australia. —AFP