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Indo-US N-deal can catalyse non-proliferation: Lawmaker
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | June 13, 2006 09:35 IST
A top American lawmaker has made out a strong case for the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying it could serve as a 'catalyst' to strengthening an 'eroding' non- proliferation regime. He also dismissed recommendations that the Congress should impose additional conditions on the accord.
In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Republican Senator Pete Domenici has argued that imposition of conditions would derail an agreement that 'for the first time brings an element of transparency to the Indian civilian nuclear programme'.
Domenici's letter was in response to the views expressed by former senator and non-proliferation expert Sam Nunn in an article titled Nuclear Pig in a Poke in the WSJ, in which he called for additional sanctions by the Congress on the Indo-US nuclear deal.
'I believe this agreement can serve as a catalyst to strengthening an eroding non-proliferation regime, a regime that has brighter prospects with India than without her', Senator Domenici said. 'Right now, India's civilian and military programmes remain closed to global scrutiny. Under this agreement, the entire civilian programme, 65 percent of all nuclear activity and eventually 90 percent, will open to monitoring by the IAEA.'
He added that the nuclear agreement will bring India on board as an ally in US non-proliferation efforts. Domenici quoted Mohammad El Baradei, director general of the IAEA as saying that the deal 'would be a milestone, timely for ongoing efforts to consolidate the nonproliferation regime, combat nuclear terrorism and strengthen nuclear safety'.
Senator Domenici's remarks come at a time when there is the expectation that the nuclear deal is likely to clear the House International Relations Committee sometime next week --most probably on June 21 -- and to be followed soon thereafter at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The administration is keen on lawmakers taking the legislation out of Committees and into the House and Senate floors for a vote. Part of the urgency stems from the fact that Congress has barely 50 working days between now and the November elections and a slew of other high profile legislations pending.
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