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Tuesday, Dec 07, 2021
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Pranab Speak

Pranab Speak
Pranab Speak
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Karan Thapar: Mr Mukherjee, let’s start with the Chinese President’s visit to India, which has just been concluded. The joint declaration says, "International civilian nuclear cooperation should be advanced through innovative and forward-looking approaches while safeguarding the effectiveness of international non-proliferation principles." Do you interpret that as an endorsement of the Indo-US nuclear deal?

Pranab Mukherjee: No. After all we are also for non-proliferation. At the same time, what is being done with India, especially with regard to the Indo-US nuclear deal, they are giving a special treatment to India because of India’s track record related to non-proliferation.

Karan Thapar: So, you’re saying that China has not endorsed it?

Pranab Mukherjee: No. China has endorsed it. I am just explaining the ‘innovative’ word.

Karan Thapar: So, when officials of your ministry have given an assessment to The Hindu, as they did on Friday, to say that China will not come in the way of any decisions of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to lift restrictions on international civilian nuclear cooperation with India," you agree with that agreement?

Pranab Mukherjee: I hope so.

Karan Thapar: When you say hope so, is there some doubt? Is there some uncertainty?

Pranab Mukherjee: No. There is no uncertainty. I hope that they will not come in the way.

Karan Thapar: So you’re confident that China will not come in the way?

Pranab Mukherjee: Why are you playing with words? In diplomacy, we don't play with words. What we say is we wait till the official outcome comes.

Karan Thapar: But you are confident?

Pranab Mukherjee: I am confident.

Karan Thapar: There is a lot of speculation that China might end up offering a similar nuclear deal to Pakistan. So far in the newspapers, there is no mention of it. But if it were to have been offered quietly and not made public, would you be concerned?

Pranab Mukherjee: We shall have to recognise the fact that different countries have different relationships with different countries, keeping in view their own perspectives. Relationship of one country need not stand in the relationship of the other country. Therefore, we shall have to keep that fact always in view while assessing the relationship between two countries.

Karan Thapar: Very interesting. Most people will interpret that to mean that if China does give Pakistan a nuclear deal similar to the Indo-US nuclear deal, India will have no objection?

Pranab Mukherjee: It's not a question of my objection or non-objection. It's a question of what happens in the ground reality. Therefore, we shall have to keep in view… For instance, Pakistan is being supplied with sophisticated weapons by the USA over a long period.

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