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'N-deal tremendous victory for India-US ties'
Aziz Haniffa in Washington | December 09, 2006 22:30 IST
Senator Biden, along with Senator Richard Lugar, is the original author of the bill, titled the Henry J Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006.
"This bill is a tremendous victory for US-India relations. It increases the prospect for stability and progress in South Asia and the rest of the world. It has become clich� to speak of the US-India relationship as a bond between the world's oldest democracy and the world's largest democracy -- but this clich� is also a fact. Shared political values are the foundation for our relationship, a firm belief in the dignity of man and the consent of the governed," he said.
"Senator Lugar and I yield to no one in our commitment to nuclear nonproliferation. This legislation allows civil nuclear cooperation with India to proceed and it starts to bring India into the global nuclear non-proliferation system. We have taken great care, moreover, to protect the role of Congress and of the international institutions that enforce nuclear non-proliferation," he added.
"This legislation was the result of hard compromises -- compromises between our two countries, and between the executive and legislative branches of government in this country. The end result, however, was overwhelming bipartisan support, in both the House and the Senate. That level of broad, solid, bipartisan buy-in was absolutely essential when crafting legislation with such long-term impact on vital American interests," Biden said.
"The US-India agreement is also much more than just a nuclear deal. I believe historians will see this as part of the dramatic and positive departure in the US-India relationship that was begun by President Clinton and continued by President Bush.
"In a time when relationships between states are critically important in shaping the world in which we live, no relationship is more important than the one we are building with India. There is still much to be done in India, as a stable and secure India is very much in America's national interest. We should work to help India increase its energy production, combat terrorism, and guard against epidemics of infectious diseases," he said.
"We should help both India and Pakistan to ease tensions between their countries and, someday, to walk back from the nuclear precipice. And India should continue its progress toward the front rank of world leaders, and especially of leaders in combating the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Enactment of this bill helps both countries to keep moving on the path of cooperation for a better world," Biden added.
The Senate and House of Representatives have now reconciled their individual pieces of legislation into one comprehensive package, which passed on Saturday and now goes to the President for his signature.