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'India's N-separation plans not credible'
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | January 14, 2006 13:05 IST
Ahead of United States Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns' visit to India to discuss among other issues the nuclear deal, a senior Congressional specialist has claimed that New Delhi's "first plan" on separating its civilian and military nuclear facilities was "neither credible nor defensible".
"Reportedly the first separation plan for separating the facilities was not credible or defensible. And also reportedly India has not yet contacted the International Atomic Energy Agency to talk about safeguards. Those are the two things that need to happen," said Sharon Squassoni, the specialist in National Defence at the Congressional Research Service.
She also said that according to information, there is an American draft agreement which may or may not have been shared with India. "There is a little of confusion now about who does what and when. There is a lot of talk of reciprocity. Both sides say there has to be progress before they proceed," she said at a seminar in Washington on the US-India civilian nuclear cooperation and its implications on non proliferation.
Squassoni also took the stand that the civilian nuclear deal is not going to be ready before President George W Bush's visit to India. There are a number of aspects that would have to be taken into account, including the evolving issue of Iran, before Congress finally signs off on this matter.
"Those people who hope that President Bush is going to New Delhi with an agreement in his hand and sign it and Congress would okay it, it is not going to happen," she said.
"The Iran (nuclear issue) debate is not over," Squassoni said. "Will India support Iran's referral to the United Nations Security Council?" she asked.