Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has reiterated India’s commitment to non-proliferation but said New Delhi would not sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in its present format as it is discriminatory and in favour of the nuclear weapon states.

“Our position is very clear. We are totally in agreement that those who are signatories to the NPT, they must fulfil their treaty obligations. Because of this discriminatory nature, we are not signatories, but with the objectives of non-proliferation, we are with the rest of the world,” he told journalists here on Sunday.

“We are second to none in propagating non-proliferation but we did not sign the NPT and we do not have any intention of signing the NPT because we disagree with the objective. We disagree with the gross discrimination which these treaties make between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states,” he added.

He said nobody else other than the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could judge whether the NPT signatories were fulfilling their treaty obligations. “IAEA is the appropriate watchdog body in this area,” he said.

Admitting that there have been cases of harassment of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Mr. Mukherjee said New Delhi was constantly in touch with the Sri Lankan authorities and had told them that killing fishermen who strayed into their waters accidentally was totally unacceptable. “We are also making efforts to warn the fishermen about the danger zones,” he added.

India, he said, had been persistently demanding that Pakistan fulfil its regional, bilateral and international obligations especially the bilateral obligation made by then Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in January 2004 and reiterated recently by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Colombo last year.

Both leaders had promised that Pakistani territory would not be used by terrorists for activities against India. Mr. Mukherjee also mentioned the SAARC Anti-Terror Convention and anti-terror international obligations to which Pakistan is a signatory.

Pakistan situation

On Sunday’s terror attack in Pakistan, he said: “We want development and peace in the neighbourhood. It is in the interest of Pakistan and the international community that the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is dismantled and the perpetrators of such acts of terror are brought to book.”

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