Pakistan likely to secure civil nuclear deal with US: report

Published: October 7, 2015
PHOTO: Inter-Services Public Relations

PHOTO: Inter-Services Public Relations

The United States and Pakistan are in the process of negotiating an accord which may end up in a civil nuclear deal between the two countries, a report published in The Washington Post claimed on Tuesday.

“The White House is exploring what could be a diplomatic blockbuster: possible new limits and controls on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and delivery systems,” David Ignatius, an opinion writer for the US-based newspaper said.

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If media reports are to be believed, the US may be able to secure a civil nuclear deal in the near future with Pakistan, as it did with India in 2005. “Pakistan has been asked to consider what are described as ‘brackets’,” the newspaper quoted a source familiar with the talks between the two countries as saying.

The newspaper further suggested that Pakistan would agree to restrict its nuclear program to weapons and delivery systems that are appropriate to its actual defence needs against India’s nuclear threat. “Pakistan might agree not to deploy missiles capable of reaching beyond a certain range,” it quoted as an example of the accord between the two countries.

Pakistan, in return, can get the US’ support for an eventual waiver by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which the US is a member, claimed the newspaper’s source.

At US’ urging, the same group had agreed to exempt India from rules that banned nuclear trade with countries that evaded the Non-Proliferation Treaty, allowing the Pakistani arch rival a partial entry into the club of nuclear powers in exchange for its willingness to apply International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards to its civilian programme.

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The sources, however, said the negotiations between the US and Pakistan on the agreement would be slow and difficult due to the fact that Pakistan honours its nuclear programme and it is not yet clear if the country would eventually be willing to accept the limitations that would be required.

It revealed that the issue is being discussed quietly in advance to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s upcoming visit to Washington on October 22, 2015.

The US considers this nuclear dialogue especially important because it would begin to address what US officials for two decades have viewed as one of the world’s most dangerous security problems.

The dialogue comes in the wake of a recent surge of Taliban violence in Afghanistan, building pressure on the US to address the issues of the nation it evaded a decade ago. “The US is quietly exploring some diplomatic options that could reduce the violence in Afghanistan,” the report said.

Considering the volatile situation of the region, the US is keen to adopt an aggressive diplomacy to reduce the Taliban’s threat which the Afghan government frequently blames to have been sponsored from Pakistan, a claim Pakistani officials have always denied.

The US recognised more than four years ago that the best way out of the Afghanistan conflict would be a diplomatic settlement that involved the Taliban and “its sometime sponsors in Pakistan”.

Read: US asks citizens to leave Afghanistan

This article originally appeared on The Washington Post.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Neutral
    Oct 7, 2015 - 2:28PM

    The US acknowledgement is in the wake of tough Russian policy and pakistan’s tendency to share it’s interest with Russia. This is wonderful policy of Military to shift it’s depency from US anyways. Recommend

  • Muhammad Nadeem
    Oct 7, 2015 - 2:49PM

    ahhhh….finally….thats good news….. US-Pak should work togather for peaceful nuclear developments & ambitions….a senseable move by the US realising the ground realities & factual situation of South Asia that Pakistan is a nuclear power….its better that you accept the truth rather than ignore it and the way forward is mutual trust and cooperation not International isolation & sanctions as the fanatic Indian leadership desires…..Congrats to both US and Pak Leadership…..Recommend

  • Menon
    Oct 7, 2015 - 2:50PM


  • Frank Mossman
    Oct 7, 2015 - 3:08PM

    This is a discriminatory offer. There are NO restrictions on the number of Indian missiles or nuclear weapons or on the range of their missiles nor on the power of their atomic bombs, in the US India Nuclear Energy agreement. If Pakistan accepts these conditions then it would free the Indians to far exceed Pakistani capabilities.

    Instead of pursuing a Nuclear Energy treaty with the US, Pakistan should instead explore these areas with Russia. The US is a declining power. Even the UK is inviting the Chinese to construct nuclear power stations on British soil.

    Pakistanis should put their self-interest above sentimental attachments to the US. The US does so, all the time. Recommend

  • Vectra
    Oct 7, 2015 - 3:13PM

    Either accept the conditions and sign it or dont accept the conditions and dont sign it.Thats it.Choose between the one.Recommend

  • Wajahat Khan
    Oct 7, 2015 - 3:24PM

    Pakistan deserve a peaceful nuclear deal as Islamabad has successfully operationalized its command and control. It needs nuclear technology to get rid of growing energy deficit. Recommend

  • Alien1
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:06PM

    this news for domestic consumption only? because i doubt that the position pakistan is in, the US will consider any such deals.Recommend

  • Pakistani
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:11PM

    No negative comments from Indian please .Recommend

  • Hasan
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:20PM

    US should consider such a deal.. As we know that US’ deal with India is already creating some disturbance in the region.. Therefore such a deal with Pakistan will stabilize the nuclear equilibrium in the regionRecommend

  • Wijdan
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:22PM

    Pakistan has to meet growing energy demands and it is only possible with the help of nuclear energy. It is viable as well as friendly to the environment. Pakistan has maintained a clean record of robust nuclear safety and security. Any kind of nuclear deal will help Pakistan to reduce its power crisis. Recommend

  • RT
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:27PM

    I like how US shows carrots to Pakistan and eats it without sharing a pie. Obama and Democrats are already in the dumps for Iran nuke deal, the last thing they want is giving a nuke deal to another Islamic country. Recommend

  • pervaiz
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:31PM

    this is good for Pakistan if we can develop nuclear technology more advanced for peaceful purpose.Recommend

  • Usman
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:41PM

    Good news for Pakistan. But waiting to see the day when we shift our focus from nuclear, terrorism, fighter jets, military to technology start ups, technology based jobs and industry and collaboration with the US on its technological base and learnings.
    We can’t even sentence a terrorist, let alone create our own Silicon Valley. We need to purge our HEC from fake PhDs, that’s not going to happen until a poltical change comes. Hence, the point of my little speech is, Political Change is the need of the hour. Until we fix the politics and the electoral system of this country, we’re not going anywhere.Recommend

  • Blithe
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:42PM

    Thank you democracy .
    These sort of deals can only be conceptualised between two civilized democracies . Recommend

  • Nadir
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:46PM

    US, stop drooling at our nuclear weapons like a dog.

    No one will impose any conditions on our nuclear and ballistic capability.

    Who will protect us if Nato and US invades??

    Stop fooling your self, we will never let this happen.Recommend

  • Kushal
    Oct 7, 2015 - 5:49PM

    This will be the greatest blunder by US.Recommend

  • stevenson
    Oct 7, 2015 - 6:38PM

    @Kushal: The biggest blunder was when India took a Canadian gifted Candu nuclear reactor and diverted it from being a donation to help energy and instead made nuclear weapons. The world knows India started the nuclear arms race in South Asia by developing these weapons. Pakistan was only forced to develop a deterrent under Bhutto. It will be helpful for Pakistan and India to both develop peaceful civilian nuclear energy technology to combat energy needs.Recommend

  • Np
    Oct 7, 2015 - 7:00PM

    The nuclear deal had to be passed by the US Congress. What is the chance that a Congress which is rebelling against the Iran deal will actually pass one in favor of Pakistan; the country that gave safe haven to OBL and punished the man who helped to bring him to justice?Recommend

  • Waseem Sarwar
    Oct 7, 2015 - 7:30PM

    This should be good for both countries. Pakistan get to use nuclear tech for energy production and US can keep a check and balance on our nukes. Our nukes were always Indian centered so if we get to keep that capability to hit India in case of any adventure, we should be fine. Recommend

  • Tom
    Oct 7, 2015 - 8:33PM

    This is nonsense news. It has no chance of passing U.S congress and Obama isn’t going to take this fight with Congress. Pakistanis will always say these things when their prime minister visit the U.SRecommend

  • Fahad
    Oct 7, 2015 - 9:32PM

    If the news is true, In negotiating Pakistan should keep the clause that any final agreement will depend on waiver by the 48-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group and not just a yes from US.Recommend

  • Chengez
    Oct 7, 2015 - 10:22PM

    Stay away from U.S deals…..this is a trapRecommend

  • Raj - USA
    Oct 7, 2015 - 10:33PM

    Read beyond this news.

    US has concerns that army will take over Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif has same concerns too. To keep the army at bay, give some hope. Next US president is going to be from Republican Party. Obama has done very well but Democrats have had two terms and Americans like change. Donald Trump and Ben Carson are the two front runners of Republican Party today. Also, Obama would not like to hurt his party at this time. Recommend

  • Sayed
    Oct 7, 2015 - 10:57PM

    It should be taken in the context of current geo-political situation of the region as well as upcoming US presidential elections! President Barack Obama promised to end combative role for US army in Afganistan by next year but recent Kunduz incident in particular and Taliban uprising in general has posed great threats to that commitment. The failure to uproot Assad regime in Syria is another blow to Obama’s legacy. It’s imperative for Obama to leave a better legacy for his presidency and not failures on all fronts. These nuclear talks will never be able to finalize before Obama leaves office. What if they are just being used to gain political mileage (to bring peace in Afgahnistan so Obama can flaunt a successful exit as legacy) and will not materialize and Infact reversed when a Republican President like Trump or Ben Carson assumes presidency in upcoming elections. Recommend

  • Ibrar
    Oct 7, 2015 - 11:08PM

    You seem to have become epicentre of jealousy …hahaha! but if wishes were Buttercakes Beggars would bite.
    You seem to live with such a burden on your mind, always thing bad about Pakistan. Remember America neither belong to us or India, it’s government , regardless of Democrats or Gop’s, think and act on what is best for America. You believe Tump is going to win?……what a futile imagination and an attempt to draw comfort from what appears to you to be a Trump’s anti-Pakistan stance. Remember no matter what these candidates are saying in their Pre-election rhetorics will all change. Once a President gets elected s/he will pursue what is good for America and I am afraid it looks they will have no option but to see Pakistan’s role in the region to be even more crucial.Trump will be too busy in securing a wall between America and Maxico and catching rapists at Mexico’s expense so Pakistan need not have any immediate worries. In fact regardless of what he has been saying he might well even support Pakistan on civil nuclear issue. Indian can try and drive him against us by cajoling him using one of several ways. Trump being Trump he might show interest in your Bollywood, especially the item numbers. Good luck

    Keep dreaming and wishing good luck to Pakistan as a good mature neighbour.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Oct 7, 2015 - 11:45PM

    Good….now the PML-N can make Nandiur a nuclear power plant……with them anything is possible.Recommend

  • Khan
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:32AM

    @Frank Mossman:
    The deal suggested would allow pakistan to develop nukes and missiles against india, which is all we need. Do we really need to waste money to build a missile that can hit Brazil? The reason we have nukes is because of india. Let’s agree to limit our program to deter/destroy india, and in return the prestige that pakistan will get will be well worth it. Joining this elite group is worth more than useless missiles that can reach countries we have no problem with.Recommend

  • The almond of Swat
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:32AM

    And for those who have reading and comprehension difficulties, the accompanying picture-illustration clearly shows the latest model of portable mini nuclear reactors that will be built for civilian purposes – of course for solving the current energy crisis gripping the nation – so there!Recommend

  • abc
    Oct 8, 2015 - 12:48AM


    Good….now the PML-N can make Nandiur
    a nuclear power plant……with them
    anything is possible.

    Nuclear energy is only cheap when you ignore the long term cost. What provisions and money are dedicated to disposal of spent nuclear rods? What money is dedicated to the enormous cost associated with safely dismantling the nuclear power plant. Pakistan has the oldest nuclear power plants on the planet – not because their safe or efficient but because Pakistan doesn’t have the money to safely close/dismantle them.
    A country that doesn’t have have the money/credit to purchase LNG has no business constructing nuclear power plants.Recommend

  • rightpolity
    Oct 8, 2015 - 1:17AM

    Is there any link to the WaPo article?Recommend

  • Tommy Gunn
    Oct 8, 2015 - 1:49AM

    India will not let this deal happen … Mark my words …Recommend

  • Gp65
    Oct 8, 2015 - 4:08AM

    @stevenson: you are talking about 1974 and for that India faced sanctions for 34 years until 2008. The nuclear Walmart of Pakistan under AQ Khan is much more recent.
    In any case after 1962 and China being nuclear it would be irresponsible if India had not matched China in going nuclear.Recommend

  • Asok
    Oct 8, 2015 - 4:10AM

    If you check previous opinion pieces by David Ignatius that touches on Pakistan, you will see that he has no credibility in this area.Recommend

  • Reality Check
    Oct 8, 2015 - 5:00AM

    uhh im pretty sure most Pakistanis consider the US govt an imminent threat to our and the worlds national security. So India isnt the only perceived threat so to speak.Recommend

  • Reality Check
    Oct 8, 2015 - 5:02AM

    also the US didnt evade Afghanistan but rather invaded it a decade agoRecommend

  • Dr Jamil M Chaudri
    Oct 8, 2015 - 6:55AM

    Some RIGHTS ARE GOD GIVEN. Self Defense is a God given Fundamental Right of all Peoples. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan should not “ACCEPT” any restriction on its desire or ability to build, and deploy Nuclear Devices and Delivery Systems of any size, or type, it deems necessary for its own defense or for the purpose of projecting power to any place it feels necessary. If some countries can contrive a pact of MUTUAL DEFENSE (e.g. NATO), based on the premise of “shared values” (euphemistically called “democracy”), Pakistan also has the right to enter into a MUTUAL DEFENSE PACT with other countries with which it shares values (sovereignty of God). Accepting the diktat of other nations will constitute a breach with the fundamental Values and Spirit of Islam. If America can go about with 7 Fleets, 8 Air Forces, and 10 Armies, and have enough Nuclear Destructive Power to annihilate the whole world twice over, what perceived reason could there be to impose restrictions of other nations? The reason can only be exercise of hegemony over nations with a different value system! Recommend

  • Wow
    Oct 8, 2015 - 6:58AM

    Oh yeah. Sure, why not? Dreams are good for morale.Recommend

  • Frank Mossman
    Oct 8, 2015 - 1:34PM

    Please Google for the K-4 & K-5 (and the K-series of) submarine launched Indian missiles, which have ranges in excess of 4500 kms.These, together with range caps on Pakistani missiles, would allow India to have invulnerable second strike capability, since its SLBMs would be free to be launched from the world’s oceans. In contrast, Pakistani missile launchers would have to be close to India making them vulnerable to a first strike.

    Second, India would be able to develop & use multi-megaton thermonuclear weapons whose destructive power would be far in excess of the comparatively puny Pakistani fission bombs. Four or five of such thermonuclear weapons would obliterate the main Pakistani cities. Pakistan would be blocked from matching these capabilities.

    Third, India (and not Pakistan) would be able to mount multiple warheads on its missiles (MIRVs), making their missiles far more destructive than Pakistani missiles. For example, each of the US Trident submarine launched ICBMs carries 12 W-88 thermonuclear warheads. Each of these warheads has a 475 kiloton yield. With only TWO such missiles,
    Pakistan would be blown to oblivion.

    And lastly, if Israel decided to use its nuclear weapons on Pakistan – which is not inconceivable – what counter would Pakistan have to this threat ?Recommend

  • globalobserver
    Oct 9, 2015 - 11:09PM

    @Frank Mossman:

    You forget one very important point. Pakistan has always lied to the international community. What makes you think they will take the deal and then clandestinely proceed with nuke programs in contravention with any agreement? Don’t we remember the double terror games Pak played and still plays- Osama is not in Pakistan?Recommend

  • Ibrar
    Oct 10, 2015 - 6:12AM

    @Frank Mossman:
    It is amazing how a twisted human can work on scary scenarios. Living down in your rat holes you probably are suffering oxygen shortage, hence a state of hallucination. It is interesting that since the Americans have adapted India as its new babe and preparing to prop this poverty stricken country against China, people like you think that all of America’s weapon inventory has already reached India so that it can threaten anyone. The truth is that while America will allow India to steal some of its outdated tech in return for its services Pakistan’s toys are no punny. How do you know Pakistan has no thermonuclear device and why you think America wants Pakistan to cap its programme? Have you heard of Pakistani neutron toys at all ?Remember no matter how many weapons you can launch from world’s Oceans Pakistan is said to have completed 5 toys per Indian city…the rest you can calculate. Even if you do have what you claim you will need courage to use them, being a Pakora & Jalaibi selling and Bollywood driven nation you will always be like a sitting duck. Pakistan has been hardened by its mega challenges through out its history and is close to fully controlling its internal situation. India has yet to go through any real internal threat. Imagine the kind of problems beginning to erupt in India….these will alone dissipate your country in due course even without Pakistan having to do anything.Recommend

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