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N-deal: 'India will allow international inspections'

Last updated on: May 04, 2006 20:59 IST

United States Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue has thrown his weight behind the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement, saying the US cannot afford to walk away from the deal because of its potential to power the economies of the world's oldest and the largest democracies.

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"This agreement will accelerate the convergence of our two dynamic economies and alignment of two democracies in 21st century. It is win for the safety, win for the environment, and win for the economic growth and international security," Donohue said.

"I want to say on behalf of the US Chamber of Commerce that we are going to spend all our resources, energy and do everything not only to keep this potential agreement on track but to nurture the relationship between two democracies that are in a position to affect the rest of the world. This is really serious and we are going to do it," he added.

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Donohue made the remarks at the US-India Partnership Summit 2006 in New York on Wednesday. The aim of the summit was to educate the American business community about the opportunities in India.

The USCC CEO said that the transfer of high technology to India will elevate the two countries to a new level of mutual respect, trust and engagement.

Noting that the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation initiative provided a vehicle by which India can develop nuclear technology in a peaceful and responsible way, he said the agreement was important as it was also going to help United States.

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"It is really important... It is going to create tens of thousands of jobs for people that are going to build these power generation systems at home and abroad. As part of this agreement, he told the audience that India will allow international inspections of its civilian operations and support a multilateral cut-off of the use of some of these materials," he said.

"We all know... there are concerns about what is going on in Iran and other places in the world. What we are attempting to do here is to demonstrate what we can do to help economies and what developed, developing and civil societies can do to use modern technology, which is critical to clean environment and global economic health," he added.

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"There are only 400 nuclear reactors around the world an a quarter of them in the US and we have people who want to shut them," Donohue said, adding that there was a need to expand them.

"By all accounts we are going to need 1,500 new nuclear power stations worldwide over the next 50 years. That is where jobs and technology, clean environment and economic growth are going to be." Donohue said.

"By cooperating with India's development of nuclear power, we can encourage an influence to transfer of international best practices and technologies resulting in the safest possible construction, operation and maintenance and waste management," he said.

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Ambassador Frank Wisner, who delivered the second keynote at the summit, supported Donohue's position.

Donohue said there was need to keep the heat on the US Congress and added that he will put some more friendly pressure on Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) because of her extraordinary relationship with the Indian business community.

"I feel very positive about this deal... So, we are going to spend our time and energy on a positive to get it done," he noted.

Suman Guha Mozumder in New York