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October 16, 2002
0945 IST

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Pre-emptive strikes not OK for India: US

The White House on Tuesday suggested that pre-emptive attacks are permissible for the United States against Iraq but the same logic does not hold for India, which is fighting Pakistan-sponsored terrorism or for China, which wants to reunify with Taiwan.

Asked whether it would be lawful if India adopted the US administration's policy, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said, "What is different is the unique history of Iraq. Different policies work in different parts of the world, and different doctrines work at different times and in different regions because of the local circumstances."

Policies of containment work more with a rational figure than an irrational one, as it did vis--vis the erstwhile Soviet Union, Fleischer said.

Iraq, on the other hand, has not been deterred by such policies, he noted.

"Given the fact that an irrational leader [Iraq President Saddam Hussein], who has a history of military aggression and domination may acquire a nuclear weapon, the question is, should the US do nothing, and allow such a leader to acquire weapons that he could then use to blackmail the world..." he said.

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