Your Pakistan

Long Live Pakistan, God Bless Pakistan – Latest News Updates

US: a Friend or Foe?

Posted by yourpakistan on June 28, 2010


The US has raised objections to the agreement under which China will supply two nuclear reactors to Pakistan. These objections are likely to be eared during the next meeting of Nuclear Supply Group (NSG) scheduled to be held in New Zealand in near future.

US State Department spokesman Gordon DuGuid has already commented: “The US expects Beijing to cooperate with Pakistan in ways consistent with Chinese non-proliferation obligations.” The news leak and remarks by the State Department spokesman seems to be a deliberate attempt to assess reactions of the Chinese and Pakistani authorities. The Chinese stance is quite clear, that the proposed installation of nuclear reactors is part of the agreement that was concluded before 2004 – the year China joined NSG. So the objections likely to be raised by the US do not apply to the agreement.

Pakistan certainly is perplexed as the proposed US objections are giving out signals. On the one hand, Pakistan is a frontline state in war on terror, a non-NATO ally and engaged in a strategic dialogue with the US to smoothen out differences to build a long-term relationship; while on the other hand the US is trying to block the Pak-China nuclear deal that is critical to meet Pakistan’s power needs.

Interestingly, the US has been historically weak vis-à-vis its friends with regard to the question of nuclear proliferation. It clearly underlines a trend in US policy where it has turned a blind eye to the nuclear programmes of its allies or openly embraced those programmes in the name of global and regional security. A manifestation of this policy is the recently concluded US-India civil nuclear deal, which, effectively recognises the nuclear status of India despite its refusal to join the NPT. It is a clear instance of “rule bending” by the US for its friends, a trend detrimental to global non-proliferation regime.

It also raises serious questions about the sincerity of the US desire to see a world free of nuclear weapons. Not only that, India has been facilitated in concluding safeguard agreement with IAEA for Indian civil nuclear reactors at its choice. To further brace its nuclear capabilities, Washington lobbied for country specific concessions for India from NSG. As a result, India has signed lucrative nuclear deals with France, UK and Russia. All these efforts will have long-term repercussions on regional balance of power. Presumably, the efforts are directed at energising India as a counterweight to China in the region. On the other hand, Pakistan which is a nuclear weapon state is easily overlooked.

If we look at the global trend, the use of nuclear energy for power generation is on the increase. According to an estimate, 15 percent of the world electricity is being produced through 436 operational nuclear reactors. Reportedly, another 53 are being installed, out of which nine are in non-nuclear states. Another 130 are planned and 250 are proposed. This clearly shows that the world is opting for nuclear energy to meet its growing need for power. Under such circumstances, if Pakistan having over 30 years of experience in managing nuclear installations wants to pursue its energy needs through nuclear reactors that should be understandable and quite justified.

In spite of all the odds Pakistan has maintained the desired control on its nuclear assets. President Obama, in a press conference on April 28, 2009, had also shown confidence in the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. Unfortunate though, on the one hand the US reposes confidence in the security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, while on the other hand it opts to block the Pak-China nuclear deal, which is self-contradictory. This will greatly hurt the feeling of the people of Pakistan and contribute to turning public opinion against the US.

Written by Alam Rind posted in The Nation

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