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Encourage India, Pak to sign CTBT: US Congressman

Source: PTI
September 03, 2009 12:44 IST
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Expressing concern over the nuclear arms race in South Asia, a senior Democratic lawmaker, who opposed the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, has asked the Obama administration to "encourage" India and Pakistan to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and halt production of nuclear-weapon fissile material.

"The United States should encourage both countries (India and Pakistan) to abide by their current nuclear test moratorium and to sign and ratify the CTBT," Congressman Edward Markey said in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Markey is founder of the House Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation and had lobbied against the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

"The United States should encourage both countries to halt the production of nuclear weapons-usable fissile material, pending the entry into force of a globally binding Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty," he urged Clinton.

The nuclear arms race between India and Pakistan is worrisome, as both countries appear to be increasing their ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, he noted.

"It is for this reason that I opposed the US-India nuclear deal, which will allow India to free up extra domestic uranium for nuclear weapons production if it chooses, as well as the construction of new plutonium production reactors in Pakistan, which could increase the size of Islamabads nuclear arsenal," he said.

"The United States must play a strong role to improve relations between these two nuclear-armed neighbours, and to discourage destabilising actions," Markey said.

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