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Blueprint on separating civil, nuke programme required: Cohen

Source: PTI
November 15, 2005 21:55 IST
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India should put forth a blueprint on how it intends to go about separating its civil and nuclear programme to ease pressure on US Congress to approve the nuclear deal, former US Defence Secretary William Cohen said on Tuesday.

"No one expects any action on the separation overnight. All that the US Congress wants is a blueprint on how New Delhi intends to go about this," the former US senator said on the sidelines of the 'HT Leadership Summit' in New Delhi. 

He cautioned that any reversal on the part of India on separation could create "political complications." When asked if New Delhi went back on the Nuclear agreement whether this could impinge on growing Indo-US military-to military relationship.

Cohen said it was his personal belief that notwithstanding major opposition to deal amongst influential sections of the Congressmen, the American body would give the go ahead for the deal.

Cohen, who was one of the main speakers at the Summit, said the fight against terrorism was a "long twilight struggle
which could only be waged successfully through police work rather than any military solution."

"We have to put up a mechanism for sharing of information on terrorists. Sharing of information and even sometimes taking action," he said, warning that any withdrawal of American and allied troops from Iraq would have a cascading, destabilizing effect not only in West Asia but in other nearby regions too.

While upholding the right of nations to go in for pre-emptive strike to deal with terrorist threats, the former US Defence Secretary said this should be done after their was adequate intelligence on such threats.     

He said nations must now be on guard to protect nuclear, chemical and biological material from getting into the hands of terrorists. In this connection, he cited the recent US-deal to pay Russia billions of dollars to destroy fissile material, which, he said, was lying in some places in extremely lax conditions.

On whether the US was making genuine efforts to eliminate radical Islamic groups, Cohen said the US drive in this direction was to engage the Islamic world in a dialogue.     

"We are fully committed to Israel-Palestine peace process and also have taken steps to repair our image in the Islamic world," he said.

On whether US would put pressure on Pakistan to cough up harboured terrorists, the former Senator said Washington's policy was to use its influence with Islamabad to ensure that no terrorists were harboured.     

"While, we are all for marginalising radical Islamic groups, we have a debate raging on it how to do it," he queried,
adding, "We do not want to indict any entire people so we have to come up with a balancing act."

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