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US House of Representatives postpones N-deal vote
September 27, 2008 08:15 IST
Last Updated: September 27, 2008 11:59 IST
The United States House of Representatives on Friday postponed the formal vote on the approval legislation for the India-US civilian nuclear agreement, following a 40-minute debate.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman, a known opponent of the deal, supported the Senate version of the Bill saying the deal is a positive step as it will bring India into the non-proliferation regime.
Fellow Democrat Edward Markey, who lead the charge on behalf of those opposed to the Bill, insisted on a recorded
"I'm a strong advocate of closer India-US ties, including peaceful nuclear cooperation. I voted for the Hyde act which
"Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step," he said, adding that the Bush administration has assured him they will push for an Nuclear Suppliers' Group decision prohibiting the export of enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technologies to states that are not party to Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Fellow Democrat Ellen Tauscher, however, disagreed maintaining that the Bill flies in the face of decades of American leadership to contain the spread of the weapons of mass destruction.
"The India deal would give a country with a dismal record of nonproliferation all the benefits of nuclear trade with
The debate on the House floor brought out law makers along expected lines in supporting and opposing the revised
However, the Congressman said he still has concerns about ambiguities in the agreement and that several documents should be inserted to clarify these.
"These documents constitute key and dispositive parts of the authoritative representations described in section 102 of
"It will also ensure that India takes the necessary remaining steps to bring its International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards agreement fully into force and include an additional protocol...I will be voting for H R 7081," the senior Democrat said at the end of his opening statement.
Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ros Lehtinen also voiced support for the legislation.
"The India-US nuclear cooperation agreement is not one we would offer to just any nation. It is a venture we would enter into only with our most trusted, democratic allies. I believe that stronger economic, scientific, diplomatic and military cooperation between the US and India is in the national interest of both countries," the Florida [Images] Congresswoman said.
"... this nuclear cooperation agreement is essential in continuing to ensure India's active involvement in dissuading,
A strong supporter of India and currently the Chair of the Sub Committee on Middle East and South Asia Democrat Gary Ackerman strongly supported the Bill.
"It (the approval of the deal) means the IAEA will be able to inspect two-thirds of India's nuclear facilities
The deal will send a clear message to 'rogue states' that responsible nuclear powers are welcomed by the international
"India would pursue its national interests as it's been doing outside of the nonproliferation mainstream and we get to
"The choice is clear, it's time for 21st century policy toward India that encourages India's growth as a nuclear power
But another Democrat from California Lynn Woolsey cautioned the agreement will permanently undermine decades of
"And what does it matter India ignored the international agreement? Any sanction? Any punishment? Nope. Just a
For most part of the debate, the support for the Bill came along bi-partisan lines.
Massachussetts Democrat Markey, the top opponent of the Bill, questioned not only the judgment of the Bush administration in going for the deal but also the non-proliferation gains.
"Most people think this is a debate about India. It is not. This is a debate about Iran, North Korea, Pakistan,
"This is an all out nuclear arms race. Pakistan will respond. That is what President Bush should be working on, not
A prominent supporter of India, South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson argued that a vote in favour of the nuclear deal will be a 'giant step forward' in strengthening America's partnership with the people of India.
"... the two nations have a vested and shared interest in expanding opportunities to compete in the global economy. The US chamber of commerce has estimated that this civilian nuclear agreement will create as many as 250,000 high-tech jobs right here in America," Wilson said.
California Republican Ed Royce called the Hyde Act a tremendous foreign policy achievement of the 109th Congress but added the "failure by this congress to push this agreement across the finish line would be foreign policy malpractice".
"The Indian nuclear industry will overcome international restrictions and will reach their full potential to do this.
Regretting his decision to oppose the Bill in spite of being a strong supporter of India, Ohio Democrat Dennis
"... the administration has cited Iran for minor breaches of the nonproliferation treaty and used these to raise support
"...we now have an opportunity to have a new beginning with a country that was not in a good relationship with us in
"If we expect India to be our ally, we must treat them as an equal, which is what this deal does. India has never...
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