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Pak, India cannot be treated equally on nuclear issue: Tim

18 May, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Australian High Commissioner in Pakistan Tim George speaks during a press conference at a local hotel.
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ISLAMABAD: Australian High Commissioner Tim George on Thursday said that Pakistan and India had different cases and both could not be treated equally for provision of civil nuclear technology from Australia.

"Yes, Australia has an agreement with India but it is not against Pakistan," he said, adding that the Nuclear Suppliers Group has allowed India while Pakistan does not have this option.

Answering a question after a press conference, the envoy said Pakistan and India had totally different situations for the provision of nuclear supply, but Pak-Australia relations improved during his three-year stint as the high commissioner to Pakistan.

Answering another question, the envoy said Pakistan was confronting security situation and was a victim of terrorism. The Australian government wishes that Pakistan should get out of security concerns as soon as possible, he said, adding that terrorism is a complex issue and "we should work together to deal with it".

About Afghanistan, George said stable Afghanistan was essential for Pakistan because there were millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Pakistan has strong common interest in Afghanistan. The envoy said Australian forces are in Afghanistan and would like to see stability and commitment for Afghanistan after 2014, when coalition forces withdrew from there. About NATO forces attack on Pakistan military checkpost at Salala, he said, "We understand feeling of Pakistan." The envoy welcomed the negotiations process and willingness of Pakistan to cooperate with foreign forces in Afghanistan.

The envoy, whose three-year term comes to an end shortly, said he was privileged to serve as high commissioner during a period of strong growth in Australia's relationship with Pakistan. He said, "I particularly welcome the deepening of our engagement, which is based on a productive, friendly and mutually beneficial partnership. We see Pakistan as a valuable long-term partner. We also wish to support Pakistan in facing its significant challenges."

Australia's development assistance to Pakistan has expanded significantly in recent years, to an estimated A$96 million in 2012-13. The signing of the Australia-Pakistan Development Partnership (APDP) was an important milestone, providing a positive framework for long-term bilateral development cooperation.

He said cooperation between Australia and Pakistan in combating terrorism and transnational organised crime has expanded substantially. A landmark development has been the establishment in 2010 of the high-level Pakistan-Australia Joint Working Group (JWG) on border management and transnational crime, which meets annually. Defence cooperation has also grown strongly with an emphasis on mutually beneficial training programmes, and the regular high level strategic dialogue, and, since 2010, the highly successful 1.5 Track Security Talks.

The envoy said there was much scope to boost links in the fields of trade, investment, and joint ventures.

End.

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