The United States has called on India to build on the goodwill generated by the landmark Indo-U.S. civil nuclear agreement reached during the preceding administration of President George Bush to strengthen bilateral ties as also the global non-proliferation system, reports say.

In his first U.S. policy speech Monday focusing on India at the prestigious Brookings Institute, a Washington-based think-tank, U.S. deputy secretary of state James Steinberg said both the Washington and New Delhi had the responsibility to help craft a strengthened Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime to foster safe, affordable nuclear power to cater to the world's growing energy-and-environment needs, while preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

India, though not a signatory to the NPT along with Pakistan and Israel, was nonetheless in a position to look at the kinds of commitments it could make to be part of an international approach, he said.

How we deal with bringing India and Pakistan into the NPT world is a critical question, he added.

The 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) agreed last September to lift the ban on nuclear trade with India, imposed after its first nuclear test in 1974 and for its refusal to sign the NPT.

U.S. Seeks Indian Help To South Asia

Focusing on the situation obtaining in South Asia, Steinberg said the U.S. expected India, an emerging global power, to provide help and cooperation in stabilizing the situation in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Acknowledging New Delhi's efforts in the development of Afghanistan in recent years, Steinberg hoped that India would work with the U.S. to help in fighting terrorists in these two Islamic nations and in restoring peace and democracy.

This week, President Obama would set out our own approach to this challenge, Steinberg said. India and the U.S. must work together with all their international partners to support them and facilitate democracy, he added.

He said India had a big stake in the success of the present democratic government in Pakistan and was playing a very important role in South Asia. We encourage India to continue that, he added.

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