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PM wants US to rein in Pakistan

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February 28, 2006 19:43 IST

Ahead of President George W Bush's visit to Pakistan on Friday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the US should use its "influence" on Islamabad to convince it that using terrorism as an instrument of state policy has no place in the world.

Making it clear that India wanted Pakistan to be a prosperous and moderate Islamic state -- which is in the interest of New Delhi and the world, the prime minister said he would like to work for a relationship with Islamabad that is on the line of the US-Canada ties.

Complete coverage: The Bush visit

In a wide-ranging interview to Charlie Rose aired on the Public Broadcast System in the US, he replied in negative when asked if the US relationship with Pakistan was an issue for India. "I sincerely hope that whatever influence the United States has with Pakistan it will convey to Pakistan that using terrorism as an instrument of state policy has no place in the world," the prime minister remarked.

He said if only Pakistan lives up to the commitment it had given the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee that its territory will not be used for terrorist activity against India "the sky is the limit" for cooperation between the two countries.

On the Iranian nuclear issue, the prime minister said "our hope is that it is not too late in the day to resolve these differences (between Tehran and international community), through dialogue, through diplomacy."

Asked to comment on a perception that it was hypocritical on the part of the US to provide India with civilian nuclear technology and at the same time coming down on Iran, he said "our concern with regard to Iran is that Iran is a signatory to the NPT (Non Proliferation Treaty). Iran must have, therefore, all the rights which go with it being a member of the NPT. But it has also certain obligations which it has voluntarily undertaken. Therefore, it is also appropriate that Iran also fulfills those obligations."

"Now there have been some doubts about Iran's programme. The International Atomic Energy Agency has gone into this. The Iranians themselves have admitted elements of their programme have not been reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency," the prime minister said.

On China, Singh observed that India did not consider China as a competition and that an economically rising China and India were good for bilateral relations, the Asia Pacific as also for the world. Singh also remarked that Non-Alignment as a policy remained as relevant today as it was in the 1950s for the reason that India's foreign policy have always and will always be guided by the enlightened national interest.

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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