Monday, July 18, 2005

President Bush yesterday acknowledged India as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology but declined to endorse its bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

After a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the White House, Mr. Bush said he supports civil nuclear energy cooperation with India as it realizes its goals of promoting nuclear power and achieving energy security.

The White House also said it would seek to adjust U.S. laws and policies, as well as international regimes, to enable civil nuclear cooperation and trade with India.

Mr. Singh, who is on a three-day official visit to Washington, pledged that India would be ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices, and acquire the same benefits and advantages, as other leading countries with advanced nuclear technology.

These responsibilities include identifying and separating civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs and filing a declaration regarding its civilian facilities with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Ashley J. Tellis, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said it will become “increasingly obvious over time that the Bush administration will have diminishing incentives to accept these burdens if India is unable to demonstrate a new willingness to ally itself with American purposes.”

In a report, Mr. Tellis said that unless Indian security managers make conscious efforts to shape their national policies to promote at least tacit coordination with, if not extensive support for, U.S. goals, the strategic partnership that both sides seek will remain elusive.

Despite Western pressure, India has resisted joining the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or any of the multilateral export-control arrangements.

Both leaders yesterday reiterated their commitment to playing a leading role in international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological weapons.

Mr. Singh praised Mr. Bush’s “steadfast determination and leadership” in the war on international terrorism. This, he said, “is widely appreciated by us, in particular, but all the world, all civilized men and women all over the world.”

Addressing a joint press conference at the White House with Mr. Bush, Mr. Singh said India has a “compelling case” for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, but Mr. Bush refused to back New Delhi’s bid.

Washington has endorsed only Japan’s candidacy and has called for more time to examine various options for reforming the council and the entire United Nations.

At a briefing later in the day, R. Nicholas Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, said Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Indians that the United States was opposed to a vote to enlarge the 15-member council.

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