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Bush signs law on nuclear deal with India

Tuesday 19 December 2006

It ends India’s 30-year nuclear isolation

It paves the way for India to stop spread of nuclear weapons India’s energy requirements will double by 2015

Washington: United States President George W. Bush on Monday signed the historic legislation allowing civilian nuclear trade with India. He said the step would make the world safer.

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NUCLEAR COOPERATION: U.S. President George Bush, surrounded by members of Congress and officials, signs the U.S.- India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act at the White House in Washington on Monday.

Signing the Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006 at a special White House ceremony, Mr. Bush said the civilian nuclear agreement, which was translated into the law, was an ``evidence of the growing bonds of trust’’ between the two countries and would strengthen bilateral relations further.

``It is an important achievement for the whole world. After 30 years of the system, India will now operate its civilian nuclear energy programme under internationally-accepted guidelines and the world is going to be safer as a result.’’

Need for energy

Describing India as a ``friend’’ which had been conducting its civil nuclear programme in a ``safe and responsible’’ manner for decades, Mr. Bush said it needed large amount of energy because of its rapidly growing economy.

The agreement reached in March would enable it access to clean energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The bill, marking an amendment to the 1954 U.S. Atomic Energy Act, was passed by Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support during the lame-duck session. This will allow the U.S. to restore civilian nuclear relations with India, snapped after New Delhi conducted an atomic test in 1974.

The Act ``will help keep America safe by paving the way for India to join the global efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.’’

The deal will be made operational by a separate 123 agreement between the countries. India will also have to sign a safeguard agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency by which the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group is required to change its guideline to allow the international community to have nuclear trade with the country.

The White House ceremony was attended by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, who was the interlocutor on the agreement, U.S. envoy to India David Mulford, some Congressional representatives and India’s Deputy Chief of Mission R.S. Jassal.

Natural partners

``The U.S. and India are natural partners,’’ Mr. Bush said, adding the ``rivalries that once kept our two nations apart are no more.’’

He said India was an important ally in the war against extremists and radicals. ``Like America, India has suffered from terrorist attacks on her soil. And like America, India is committed to fighting extremists, defeating their hateful ideology and advancing the cause of human liberty around the world.’’

Mr. Bush praised India for its open society and democracy which respected human rights and freedom.

``I have a lot of respect’’ for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he said and added: ``We discussed the importance of working together to meet the energy needs of our growing economies".


See online : The Hindu

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