Bush, Rao differ on nuclear issue

(From The Hindu's archives: 31.01.1992) During the 30-minute exchange of views, the two leaders expressed satisfaction over the in- creasing cooperation between the U.S. and India, but differed on nuclear non-proliferation.

September 26, 2014 03:08 pm | Updated 03:08 pm IST - New York

The Prime Minister, Mr. P. V Narasimha Rao, today began his round of global diplomacy here, with a meeting with the U.S. President, Mr. George Bush, over breakfast. They met at the Waldorf Astoria hotel where they, along with most of the heads, now here for the Security Council summit, are staying.

During the 30-minute exchange of views, the two leaders expressed satisfaction over the in- creasing cooperation between the U.S. and India, but differed on nuclear non-proliferation.

On the second issue, they confined themselves ta the re-statement of their respective positions. Mr. Bush wanted India to cooperate in the five- nation discussions for a regional agreement on checking the spread of nuclear weapons in South Asia.

This proposal, though authored by the U.S. last year, became known as the baby of the Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif.

It envisaged consultation among India. Pakistan, along with the three nuclear countries, U.S. China and the then Soviet Union, to evolve means for a nuclear-free South Asia.

The variants of this proposal were commended by the representatives of the U.S. Administration in their talks with Indian leaders both in New Delhi and Washington.

The U.S., at one stage, suggested that the offi- cials of India and Pakistan could meet in Wash- ington to discuss the modalities of an embargo by New Delhi and Islamabad on first nuclear strike against each other.

Global view stressed

It was for the first time that Mr. Bush threw the weight of his support behind the proposal. He also referred to the dangers of proliferationed by the break-up of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Narasimha Rao, however, stressed the need for a global view of the nuclear non-prolif-eration problem, which could not be considered The rationale of his argument had been known the spread of nuclear weapons was global and there was no point in having nuclear-free zones.

In the case of South Asia, India often drew attention to the presence, in the proposed nuclear- free zone, of China, which had acquired weapon capability years ago and Pakistan, which unannounced nuclear power now.

Mr. Bush's advocacy of the five-nation proposal came at a time when the U.S. and others of its way of thinking sought to vest vast powers in the Security Council to control the spread of nuclear weapons to which India had strong reservations.

The two leaders, who discussed the agenda items of the Security Council summit, presumably, focussed on this subject as well. Mr Rao was accompanied by the Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Eduardo Faleiro and the Foreign Secretary, Mr J. N. Dixit.

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