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Pakistan was fully informed about N-deal: US
Sridhar Krishnaswamy in Washington | March 23, 2006 13:47 IST
Firmly rebuffing Islamabad's complaints on the Indo-US nuclear deal, the US has said Pakistan was kept "very fully" informed as negotiations in this regard progressed, and asserted the acccord will cause no arms race in South Asia.
"We did keep the Pakistani government fully informed of what we were doing over the last year in negotiating this civil nuclear agreement with India," Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said in Washington Wednesday.
Expressing confidence that US will continue to see improvement in Indo-Pak ties, he said, "We will not see the kind of arms race that some of the critics are now forecasting."
He said as a friend of both neighbours, the US was in a position to assess that as a "reasonable prospect for the future".
Burns said that in January, six weeks before President George W Bush's visit to the region, he had briefed the Pakistani government on the nuclear agreement.
On Monday, Pakistan had said it would not accept any "discrimination" in supply of nuclear technology and argued that Washington should have worked out a "package deal" for South Asia to ensure stability in the region.
But Burns maintained that the US has had a "full" discussion with Pakistani authorities.
"We've kept them informed in general on these negotiations for the better part of the year, so this didn't come as a surprise to the Pakistani government," he said at Foreign Press Centre in Washington.
Burns said there was "not a problem" between Pakistan and the US, adding, "We're friends. We're partners. And I've had good conversations myself over the last 24 hours with senior officials in Islamabad, and I think they fully understand the rationale of the United States."
"They may not agree with everything that we do, but that's normal in international politics. Even the best of friends sometimes disagree," he said.
"But there's no sense of crisis, and I think we'll move forward on a very good basis with the Pakistani government," he added.
Burns stressed that there should be an "effort by the governments of Pakistan and India to continue the good relations they enjoy in the composite dialogue, that they should work on narrowing the differences they have in the range of issues between India and Pakistan, that they should continue to work to resolve the problem of Kashmir."
He said "restraining any sense of arms competition between India and Pakistan should be a very high priority for both governments. We've said that to both governments privately. We're very happy to say that publicly. And we're convinced that stability will be maintained in South Asia."