Today's Paper

Nuclear trade: France not to treat Pakistan on a par with India

Sandeep Dikshit

NEW DELHI: Though Pakistan had requested cooperation in nuclear energy from France, there is no likelihood of that happening, said sources privy to the recent meeting between Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. All that France has offered in the nuclear arena is cooperation to ensure the safety of the nuclear installations in Pakistan, they added.

“Nuclear energy is a special form of energy due to links between civilian and military uses. India’s was a very special case. A series of safeguards have been incorporated,” said the sources while seeking to set the record straight on Pakistan’s assertions that France had offered to cooperate in the field of nuclear energy.

“Not in same category”

“Countries should respect international obligations. India and Pakistan are not in the same category. Discussions with India were held for 10 years after which a system was devised that was acceptable to the world,” they said while clarifying Pakistan’s assertion that Mr. Sarkozy has offered civilian nuclear technology to Pakistan, which was termed by Islamabad as a move of “significant development.”

The sources said Paris clarified that the main focus was on the fight against terrorism, help to refugees and the stabilisation of Pakistan. With the democratic transformation in Pakistan, Europe and the U.S. are keen to work with the dispensation in power since it was essentially against fundamentalism, stood against communalism and was for secularism.

Tackling terror

The pressing question is of international terrorism, which is deeply rooted in Pakistan, exploring a combination of economic help and some cooperation in security, with the main aim being the fight against terrorism. Also, the last thing the West wants is for the refugees to be left alone by the democratic world and being helped instead by Islamic fundamentalists, said the sources.

Recommended for you