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NPT advocates want changes in N-deal
December 05, 2006 09:05 IST
Ahead of the US Congress meet to work out a legislation on the Indo-US nuclear deal, a group of Democrats have asked for nonproliferation provisions in the Senate and House bills to be included in the final legislation.
'This has always been a bad deal. It's a nuclear giveaway to India that strikes a harsh blow to efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and technology. Now President [George W] Bush is trying his best to make it even worse,' leader of the group Edward Markey said in a letter to Chairman of the House International Relations Committee Henry Hyde and Ranking Member Tom Lantos.
The group of lawmakers asked Hyde and Lantos to make sure that some areas of the current legislations that are seen as problematic and outside the scope of the July 2005 agreement between the leaders of India and US are retained.
'All of us consider halting the proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies to be a paramount national security and foreign policy interest of United States. We therefore wish to strongly urge you to ensure that several critical nonproliferation provisions contained in the Senate and House bills are included in any final conference report,' Markey and his colleagues have maintained.
"Why in the world would Secretary [Condoleezza] Rice ask that the Congress remove all of the provisions that would strengthen nonproliferation, such as requiring India to help the United States prevent Iran from going nuclear?" the Massachusetts Democrat said in reference to a recent letter written by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to some senior law makers.
Apart from Markey those who signed the letter included Jane Harman, Adam Schiff, Rick Larsen, John Spratt, Ellen Tauscher and Robert Andrews.
Rice in that letter cautioned lawmakers against retaining provisions in the final legislation that would be unacceptable to India or force the re-opening of negotiations on a deal that is generally seen as a historic move in the bilateral relationship.
She further made the point to lawmakers that relations with India would suffer if problem areas in the legislations are not addressed.
Congressman Markey and his colleagues are pressing to retain several key provisions including a requirement that India fully support US efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
They are also pressing to retain the provisions that include the president reporting to Congress on whether US civil nuclear assistance to India assists their nuclear weapons programme in any way and the stipulation that if the US terminates nuclear-related transfers to India, for example as a result of an Indian nuclear test, the US will work to prevent India from switching to another nuclear supplier.
Meanwhile, in the first formal step towards finalisation of the deal, six senators were on Monday appointed as conferees for the committee, which will thrash out the language of the legislation to be adopted.