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Indo-US N-deal dangerous: Jimmy Carter
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Coverage: Indo-US Nuclear Tango

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October 27, 2006 18:50 IST

Former American President Jimmy Carter advocated on Friday that all countries possessing nuclear weapons, including India, should be under the purview of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

However, he added that he saw no problem in New Delhi moving towards use of atomic energy to generate electricity.

On a visit in connection with a humanitarian project, he hoped that relations between the two countries will not be adversely affected if the Indo-US civil nuclear deal does not go through the American Congressional processes.

In an interaction with a select group of reporters, Carter attacked the Bush administration over the 'invasion' of Iraq and found faults with Washington's handling of the North Korean nuclear issue.

Replying to questions on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, he said he had concerns with regard to countries with nuclear weapons remaining outside the ambit of the NPT.

These concerns are not specific to India but at a global level, he said, pointing out that except India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel, all nuclear weapon countries are signatories to the NPT, a regime he hoped can be universally applicable.

Carter, who was US President from 1976 to 1980 and is visiting India after 28 years, said he favours promotion of NPT membership and discouragement of development of new weapons and fissile material.

But he has 'no objection' to India 'moving towards atomic energy to produce electrical power', he said when referred to the country's rising energy demands in view of its rapidly growing economy.

Carter, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], said he stood by his earlier statement that the Indo-US civil nuclear deal would be dangerous.

He, however, underlined that he was not here to pursue his views or influence the Indian government on policies related to the nuclear issue.

To a question, he said he saw no threat to global peace from India, which is a peace-loving and enlightened country.

He noted that he had read carefully the statement of the prime minister in Parliament wherein he said that any deviation in the July 18 understanding on the civil nuclear deal will be unacceptable to India and that he could not say what will happen to the agreement.

The former US President said India is emerging as a major power in every way and its economic progress has particularly been extraordinary.

India has enlightened relations with the US, as well as China, Carter said, and emphasised that the growing ties between New Delhi and Washington are not against Beijing [Images].

Describing India as one of his favourite countries, he said some problems, like poverty and caste system, remained in this country despite appreciable economic progress. But these problems are there in the US also, he added.

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