Washington: Ripples of concern is traversing through the Indian government as the US government is planning to clinch a India-like nuclear deal with Pakistan ahead of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington later this month.
The deal however contains certain bracket, Brackets, in diplomatic parlance, are numerous alternative formulations that are negotiated towards an eventual agreement. According to the report, the deal centers around a civilian nuclear agreement similar to the one the United States arrived at with India, in exchange for a Pakistani commitment that would “restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defense needs against India’s nuclear threat.”
Pakistan might, for example, agree not to deploy missiles capable of reaching beyond a certain range, the report said, citing the source, who indicated that the US might support an eventual waiver for Pakistan by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the same way it has done for India.
While a few regional experts have floated the idea of a nuclear deal for Pakistan in the past, most analysts are aghast at the prospect. It will be “sheer madness wrapped in folly,” said Sumit Ganguly, a South Asia scholar at Indiana University, among several experts who have critiqued Washington frequent free passes to a country that has a reckless history of nuclear proliferation and home-grown terrorism.
The WaPo report however conceded that inasmuch as Pakistan prizes its nuclear program, “negotiations would be slow and difficult, and it’s not clear that Islamabad would be willing to accept the limitations that would be required.” But, it said, the issue is being discussed quietly in the run-up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington on October 22.