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EU aide worried by calls to drop India WMD clause

Reuters | 2 March 2007

EU aide worried by calls to drop India WMD clause

BRUSSELS (Reuters) — A senior European Union official expressed concern on Thursday about calls by some EU states to drop a clause on weapons of mass destruction from a trade and investment agreement planned with nuclear-armed India.

Annalisa Giannella, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana’s representative for non-proliferation and weapons of mass destruction, said the bloc now insisted on such clauses in agreements with other countries.

However, some member states discussing a negotiating mandate for a new trade and investment agreement with India were arguing that the WMD clause could be left out, she said.

"There is a tendency now to put aside the WMD clause specifically for the case of India," she told a committee of the European Parliament, adding that it would set a bad precedent.

"If we were to adopt for India an approach different from the approach we adopt with other countries, I think we would abandon altogether the idea of having a WMD clause with third countries," she said.

"We would establish a terrible double standard," she said.

At the same time, she said, the EU needed to ensure India would use European technology prudently, "that there would not be a retransfer of this technology and that this technology does not contribute to a military programme".

The EU sees India potentially as a huge market for trade and investment if it can lower relatively high levels of protection with a bilateral trade agreement.

An EU official said India did not want a WMD clause included in a new agreement even though the only binding part would be for New Delhi to comply with its existing international obligations relating to weapons of mass destruction.

These would include conventions on chemical and biological weapons, but not the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which India was not party.

 source: Reuters