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Indo-US deal hits another roadblock
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | December 21, 2005 11:13 IST
Last Updated: December 21, 2005 13:00 IST
A fierce advocate of nuclear non-proliferation and a strong opponent of the Indo-US nuclear deal on Tuesday introduced an amendment in US Congress to torpedo the deal.
The move comes ahead of a meeting between Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns on India's plans to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities.
Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, the co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Non-proliferation, along with a fellow senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Congressman Fred Upton, introduced a resolution opposing the deal signed between President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, warning that the administration's 'move to launch nuclear cooperation with India has grave security implications for South Asia and the entire world.'
Markey and Upton argued that supplying nuclear fuel to countries that are not party to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty derails the delicate balance that has been established between nuclear nations and 'limits our capacity to insist that other nations continue to follow this important non-proliferation policy.'
Markey's resolution said, 'Bush's rogue nuclear doctrine will send a message to other nations that there are no serious consequences for violating nuclear treaties. India is not a party to the NPT and they tested nuclear weapons as recently as 1998. If we provide them with nuclear fuel, we are essentially allowing them to build their nuclear weapons stockpile. This is an extremely dangerous precedent to be setting.'
Markey's resolution comes close on the heels of the non-proliferation lobby dredging up the controversy of the Canadian-supplied CIRUS research reactor to India, which was built in the 1960s following a 1956 bilateral agreement that utilised US heavy water and was originally intended to be for civilian purposes. India had used the reactor to produce plutonium used in the 1974 nuclear tests.
Other roadblocks for the deal: