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WASHINGTON: India seems to be having second thoughts about a Soviet-American guarantee against the so-called Chinese nuclear threat [Sept 13].

During his talks here with President Johnson and other top US officials, Indian Deputy Prime Minister Morarji Desai is said to have been made to recognise that such a guarantee is impractical under the present circumstances.

Though the US was said to be ready at one point to go along with the idea of a joint guarantee with the Soviet Union, Moscow understandably rejected the suggestion.

The Soviet-American draft non-proliferation treaty contains no formula about a nuclear guarantee for non-nuclear nations.

The United States is understood to have indicated to Mr Desai that it expected India to sign the Geneva draft after it is finalised later this year. The Indians have made no commitment to do so as yet. Though they may find it futile to pursue the joint nuclear umbrella project directed against China, they are still insisting on the right to use nuclear explosives for “peaceful purposes”. Under the draft treaty, only the nuclear Powers would be allowed to carry out peaceful nuclear blasts.

Besides, the Indians are also seeking to introduce loopholes into the non-proliferation treaty which would permit India to walk out of it whenever she feels like it.

Some observers here believe that India’s shift of position on the nuclear umbrella project might actually be designed to eventually justify India’s own nuclear “deterrent”.

[Meanwhile, as reported by agencies in Rawalpindi,] the limits of the local Municipal Committee have been expanded and about 20 square miles of the rural areas (comprising about four union councils) now fall under the jurisdiction of the civic body, [agencies] learnt here today [Sept 13].

The area behind the satellite town up to I.J. Road in Islamabad and the outskirts of Satellite Town scheme have been brought under the municipal limits.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017