Washington: A former US official intimately involved in negotiations for the India-US civil nuclear agreement has urged Washington to pressurise China to reverse the planned sale of two nuclear reactors to Pakistan.
The United States should oppose the transaction in its current form and pressure China to reverse course, contends a new paper by Ashley J. Tellis, who was a senior adviser to the US ambassador to India and a special assistant to the president during the previous Bush administration.
Refuting suggestions that the landmark US-India civil nuclear deal complicates Washington`s ability to credibly resist the China-Pakistan agreement, he asserts the two deals are fundamentally different.
"Unlike the secret Sino-Pakistani agreement, the US-India deal was publicly debated in both countries," notes Tellis, who now serves as a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a US-based think tank.
"The United States can make a difference," he asserts noting, "In the past, Washington has successfully pressured Beijing- both multilaterally and bilaterally- to halt nuclear sales to Pakistan."
"The record of the last decade suggests that the United States has been successful in impeding problematic Chinese nuclear sales to Pakistan whenever it has remonstrated with Beijing at very high levels of government in both capitals," Tellis writes.
"There is no reason why President (Barack) Obama cannot sustain this record of American achievement if he invests time and attention on this issue, given the emphasis he has placed on managing nuclear proliferation."
By going ahead with the deal, China risks reneging on its obligations, contends Tellis noting, "When China joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in 2004, it agreed not to sell nuclear material to non-nuclear-weapon states that do not accept full-scope safeguards.
A sale to Pakistan not only violates those terms but also undermines the non proliferation regime, he asserts.
While the United States requested a special waiver from the NSG to sell nuclear material to India, China has given no indication that it has such plans for Pakistan.