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'Indo-US N-deal a historic opportunity'
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | March 22, 2006 18:37 IST
Observing that the Indo-US nuclear deal will foster deeper strategic ties that will yield significant commercial opportunities, the Chamber of Commerce has urged Capitol Hill to support the draft legislation on the pact, sent to the Congress last week.
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In separate letters to Senator Daniel Akaka and Congressman Neil Abercrombie of the House of Representatives, Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Donahue urged the two lawmakers to not only back the legislation but also co-sponsor it.
The US-India Business Council celebrates its 31st anniversary this year. Urging the two lawmakers to back and co-sponsor legislation S 2429 in the Senate and H.R.4974 in the House, Donahue said, "In our collective view, this is a historic opportunity that rarely comes and must not be lost. We strongly urge you to co-sponsor and support this legislation."
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The lawmakers have been told that if the US forgoes the economic opportunity as a result of this civilian nuclear energy agreement, those benefits will go to the competition.
"The US Chamber of Commerce wholly supports the transformed strategic partnership between the United States and India as embodied in the historic July 18 Joint statement signed by President George Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, which calls for civilian nuclear cooperation," Donahue said.
"American business leaders are united in their belief that civilian nuclear cooperation with India will foster deeper strategic ties that will yield significant commercial opportunities for US companies," the head of the Chamber, representing more than three million businesses and organisations of various size, sector and region, said.
India's energy requirements through 2012 require investments of more than $170 billion. American firms look forward to providing equipment, services and technology to assist India in meeting its energy security needs, he said.
"India's nuclear power requirements are projected to generate as many as 27,000 high-quality jobs each year for the next ten years in the US nuclear industry alone. If the US forgoes this opportunity, these benefits will go to the competition," Donahue said.
Also, by assisting India in its nuclear power development, international inspection will ensure application of world-class safety standards and provide an inspection regime where there had been none before. "This will make the world safer and more secure," he said.
Finally the environment will be protected to the extent India generates clean nuclear power rather than relying on fossil fuel or the burning of high ash coal, he said.
"In all of these areas, US companies will prove helpful partners, generating jobs and prosperity in the US as well as in India. Over the course of our long-term engagement as a Chamber with India, we have come to understand the primacy of trust and respect that is at the core of our partnership. These are the same core values at stake in the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation initiative," he added.
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