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Pervez speaks of nuclear options

Islamabad, March 2 (PTI): Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf today said Washington concluded the nuclear deal with New Delhi due to its own interests.

He added that Islamabad has its own options even if Pakistan had failed to get such an agreement for itself.

“Every country has certain national interests: the US has its own interests in the region vis-a-vis India, vis-a-vis China, vis-a-vis everyone. They devise their strategy according to their own interests,” Musharraf said while addressing a national security workshop at the National Defence College here today.

Asked about the nuclear deal reached between President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi today, Musharraf said: “As far as we are concerned, we must understand what is our interest and what interest others have in us.

“Our pure location gives us strength and unfortunately we have not realised this in the past. We must utilise that and, secondly, we have our own options”, he said.

The “options” that Musharraf was referring to were Pakistan’s own equations with China which has already built two nuclear power plants each capable of producing 325 mw of nuclear power at Chashma, 280 km southwest of Islamabad.

Musharraf reportedly discussed chances of China building more such plants during his recent trip to Beijing.

US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice has already rejected the possibility of US extending a similar nuclear deal to Pakistan over nuclear proliferation concerns.

Musharraf, who will hold talks with Bush when the US President arrives here tomorrow night or on Saturday, said it is important that Pakistan maintains good relations which US and China.

“We maintain our relationship with the US. We should continue having good relationships with the US because it is a unipolar world.

“We have our relationship with China as well and that relationship is strategic in nature,” he said.

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