New Delhi: In what could be a matter of concern for New Delhi, Pakistan has secured approval from the UN atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for setting up two more nuclear reactors in the Chasma nuclear facility.
As per a report published in a leading newspaper, Wednesday, Pakistan got the nod from the IAEA board during a meeting of the watchdog in Vienna. This means, Pakistan’s proposed two nuclear reactors - Chasma 3 and Chasma 4 - will now be covered under the IAEA’s nuclear safety agreement.
The development is significant since it confirms the strengthening of ties between Pakistan and China, which will supply nuclear reactors to Islamabad. The high-powered IAEA board gave its nod to Pakistan overlooking the objections raised by some members in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The IAEA board’s approval is of concern to New Delhi as it had recently expressed concerns over China-Pakistan deal before some key NSG members.
The reports claims that when the matter came up for discussion during the IAEA board meeting, it met no opposition from NSG members. The Indian side is of the opinion that the China-Pakistan deal for setting up two nuclear reactors violates NSG guidelines, which restrict the transfer of such technology to nations that run a strategic nuclear programme.
While India has got an exemption in this case in view of its civil nuclear deal with the US and other countries, Pakistan’s nuclear programme has been under scrutiny amid reports that it was aimed at strengthening Islamabad’s military might and raising its stockpile of nuclear warheads.
China too has remained silent on this issue and never brought the matter before the NSG. In defence of the deal, it says that the same is covered by the IAEA nuclear safeguards agreement, which permits countries to honour their commitments before joining the NSG. However, China’s claim is being contested by other NSG members.