Washington: Setting doubts at rest that there may be a rethink about the Indo-US civil nuclear deal by the new Obama administration, given its pro-NPT stance, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that Washington fully backed the deal. She also affirmed that the administration perceives it as part of a broader American strategic approach towards New Delhi.
|Hillary Clinton at the US Institute of Peace|
Interestingly, the secretary said the deal could not be used as a precise template, or precedent, for other countries. The comment has to be seen in the light of demands by several countries, notably Pakistan and Iran, to seek a similar deal for them (Pakistan) or provide exceptions in their existing programme (Iran).
''The nuclear accord that I supported as a Senator, and the Obama administration supports it as a government, is embedded in a broader strategic dialogue with Indians. We view the relationship as comprehensive and very deep in terms of the issues we wish to explore with our Indian counterparts,'' Clinton said in an address on non-proliferation issues at the US Institute of Peace.
She also pointed out that it was ''very significant'' that the first official visit to Washington under the Obama administration would be of the Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, who arrives in Washington late November.
Clinton did leave a window open for nations which may also be seeking a solution. Affirming that the Indo-US nuclear deal was unique she said ''we are not going to use it as a template in specifics,'' for other countries but its broad outlines could be used to offer peaceful nuclear energy to other countries though with adequate safeguards and verification. This, she said, was something the administration was looking at closely. (See: Extract of Hillary Clinton's comments)
The aim would be to ensure that the fuel cycle did not spin-off into non-peaceful purposes, she added. In this regard, she said, India was a different case. ''Obviously, we have lot of confidence with the Indians and their approach and we are going to be working closely with them, including American companies that will be part of implementing the reactor sites that are part of agreement,'' she said.