Pakistan and India must adhere to NPT: US
* Washington wants IAEA to have authority to inspect any nuclear facility without advance notice, says Boucher
WASHINGTON: The US is going full steam ahead on its demand for “universal” adherence to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and all nations, including India and Pakistan, would have to adhere to the agreement to have a “full relationship” with the rest of the world.
“I think one thing that will be re-emphasised or reiterated in his (Assistant Secretary of State Stephen Rademacher) remarks (at the non-proliferation review conference) will be that we believe in universal adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told journalists when asked whether US President George W Bush was going to put pressure on “his friends, India, Pakistan and Israel” over their nuclear arsenals.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher had similar sentiments when asked about the issue of nuclear arsenals of India and Pakistan on Monday.
When a correspondent asked why he did not mention India and Pakistan, which have developed nuclear weapons and whether the two South Asian countries were not “better off” than countries without nuclear weapons, Boucher said, “I don’t think so, but I am sure they would debate that.”
“But the point is that for countries to have the kind of full relationships they want to have with people in the world, with other countries, it is important for people to become members in good standing in the non-proliferation treaty.
“We have advocated universal adherence and even the universal application of additional protocols, giving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) the authority to inspect any nuclear facility in any non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council without advance notice.
The NPT permits only the US, Britain, France, Russia and China to have nuclear weapons. When a journalist pointed out that the arms control association had said that US plans to research new kinds of nuclear weapons (for example Bunker busters) encouraged other countries to develop nuclear weapons, Boucher said that such a stand was “illogical” because the US and Russia were reducing their nuclear arsenal drastically.
Though the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty calls on world powers to give up their weapons, Boucher said the US and Russia were meeting their commitments by reducing their operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads from 2,200 to 1,700, one-third of the cold war level.
“So while we do maintain a deterrent for US to go down to one-quarter the level we had during the Cold War, I think, it is an example to others that these weapons are not necessary and that we are indeed meeting our commitments under the NPT to reduce nuclear weapons and that other countries should meet their commitments as well.” online