THE US government and media has been incessantly targeting Pakistans nuclear programme and the latest salvo fired from the US Administration was against the civil nuclear agreement between Pakistan and China for two power reactors which will be subject as usual to IAEA safeguards. Given the US nuclear deal with India which led to all manner of concessions being given to India in terms of a special safeguard agreement with the IAEA and a country-specific exception to Nuclear Suppliers Groups (NSG) rules being given to India, it is absurd for the US to target the present Pakistan-China civil nuclear agreement. Pakistan is not even demanding a similar special safeguards agreement with the IAEA - which it should do - on the model of the IAEA-India safeguards agreement which contains all manner of loopholes to allow India an easy exit from these safeguards whenever it chooses. Nevertheless the US has typically decided to target the new Pakistan-China nuclear agreement as part of its unrelenting campaign against nuclear Pakistan and has declared that this agreement requires the approval of the NSG. That is why the strong reaction by China in defence of the agreement is to be welcomed. As the Chinese Foreign Office Spokesperson categorically declared, the agreement was in line with Chinas international obligations, was totally for peaceful purposes and was subject to IAEA safeguards and supervisions. Chinas strong defence shows once again that China remains our foremost steadfast ally - in sharp contrast to the US which continues to undermine Pakistan on all fronts. Islamabad also needs to be more aggressive in defending this agreement. It has to point out that the NSG is an international cartel of nuclear technology suppliers and was not created by an international treaty to which Pakistan is subject. China has joined the NSG voluntarily. The only international organisation to which legally Pakistan and China are obligated to seek approval for this deal is the IAEA - where the deal itself is not the issue but the safeguards agreement to which it must be subject. That Pakistan has already been doing and it will do so with the new reactors also since China and Pakistan are both IAEA members. It is time for Pakistan to go on a diplomatic offensive on a number of nuclear-related issues. International law and logic support Pakistans position and we need to move beyond simply telling a domestic audience that we will not accept a Pakistan-specific fissile material cut-off treaty or that logic demands Pakistan be recognised as a nuclear weapons power. Our international diplomacy must be more rigorous on these fronts unlike our unclear and dithering performance in the IAEA on the India safeguards agreement and internationally on the Indo-US deal - under US pressure. China has made its position clear in no uncertain terms in support of its nuclear agreement with Pakistan. We need to do the same.