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US asks India and Pak to restrain nuclear, missile programmes

May 01, 2013 12:43 IST

Expressing concern over the continuing buildup of nuclear weapons in South Asia, the United States has asked India and Pakistan to restrain their atomic and missile programmes and play a positive role in the global non-proliferation community.

"The United States remains deeply concerned by the dangers posed by the continuing buildup of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems in South Asia," Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Thomas Countryman said in his address to the 2015 Review Conference of the States Parties to the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons in Geneva on Monday.

"Consistent with our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons, the United States has repeatedly called on India and Pakistan to restrain their nuclear and missile programmes; end the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons; and support the commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty," he said.

"In that regard, it is with concern and deep disappointment that we note Pakistan's reluctance to support the start of such negotiations," the US official said.

"We would welcome meaningful trust and confidence-building between these nuclear-armed states; we must find ways to reduce regional tensions and diminish the risk that nuclear weapons could be used, either intentionally or accidentally, in a crisis," he said.

The United States, he said continues to encourage both India and Pakistan to play a positive role in the global non-proliferation community and take steps to prevent proliferation, including bringing their strategic trade controls in line with the guidelines of the multilateral supplier regimes.

"We support, in a phased manner, India's goal of joining the four multilateral export control regimes," he said, adding that the US remains cognisant of its non-proliferation commitments and objectives when considering how to conduct its bilateral relations with any country.

"Our activities with both India and Pakistan continue to be consistent with our NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) obligations and with our commitment as members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group," Countryman said.

Lalit K Jha In Washington
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