The United States on Wednesday said India is not going to join the NPT "for quite some time", but wanted New Delhi to work with the Obama administration to strengthen the non-proliferation regime.
A day after the US underlined its determination to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime, a top US official said Washington would not push New Delhi to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) until the American Senate ratifies it.
Appreciating India's principled opposition to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) treaty, Robert J Einhorn, Special US Advisor Non Proliferation and Arms Control, said that New Delhi is unlikely to join the pact.
"India's not going to join the NPT for quite some time, if at all. We understand that. But we want India to work with us in strengthening the nonproliferation regime," Einhorn told media persons in Washington.
"US and India have increasingly become partners in this area of dealing with the global proliferation threat, with the threat of nuclear terrorism," Einhorn said.
"We talk about these issues on a bilateral and on a multilateral basis with India quite frequently," he said in response to a question.
Einhorn said the administration "appreciates and understands" India's attitude toward NPT.
"It's a long-standing attitude, it's a position of principle. What's especially important to us is that India behave in a responsible manner. And it has behaved in a responsible manner," he said.
Einhorn made it clear that the White House would not push India to sign CTBT until the Senate ratifies it.
"Once we have ratified, we'll be in discussions with India about how to bring this important treaty into force," he underlined.
In terms of the CTBT, the administration will press hard for Senate ratification of the treaty, and "then we will work with other countries to bring it into force".
"Bringing it into force means that the US and India and Pakistan and China and a number of other countries must ratify it. And we will be in discussions with India (once it is ratified by the Senate)," Einhorn said.
Einhorn said countries that have not joined the NPT, and countries like China, which have joined the NPT, "we call on all countries, whether they've chosen to join the NPT or not, to work together to limit, to prevent, the threat of further nuclear proliferation".
James N Miller, Principal Deputy Secretary of Defence Policy, underlined the need to ensure that the regime does not unravel.
"Whether you're an NPT party or not, there's a common interest in ensuring that this regime does not unravel," he said.
Responding to a question, Miller said the nuclear non-proliferation regime is under considerable threat these days, especially because of the non-compliance of North Korea and Iran.
"At the NPT review conference coming up in May, it's important that we work together on a strong consensus to strengthen this regime. And that requires not just countries that have signed the treaty, but countries that haven't signed the treaty," he underlined.