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Senate floor managers oppose killer amendments on N-deal

October 02, 2008 00:53 IST
Last Updated: October 02, 2008 01:01 IST

Opposing the killer amendments to the legislation on the Indo-US nuclear deal, Democratic and Republican floor managers in the Senate on Wednesday said that these were "unnecessary" and asked Senators to fall in line by passing the legislation without any change.

"The amendment is unnecessary. Existing law does exactly what my colleagues are asking us to do today but if we adopt them here we run the risk of ending up interest something coming back a lot worse than what Senator Biden, Senator Lugar and the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the other body's work have accomplished and achieved," Acting Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Christopher Dodd said.

The amendments introduced by two Democratic Senators Byron Dorgan and Jeff Bingaman seek to ensure that the US nuclear exports to India do not help boost New Delhi's [Images] nuclear weapons programme.

Already approved by the House of Representatives, the Bill has a paragraph that the US can cease nuclear cooperation with India if New Delhi conducts a test.

"The amendment bars all nuclear exports. Section 106 sets a different standard for India than for any other  non- nuclear weapon state which is what India -- what is under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and US law.

"There is no need for I think it would be very harmful to single India out," Dodd said.

"Is this a perfect bill... absolutely not. But if we allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good we will find ourselves, I think, in a far more serious situation than the one Senator Dorgan and Senator Bingaman described to you," Dodd said.

"Other nations are in a similar situation. I don't hear amendments being offered to suggest they all ought to be created in the same way. We are picking out one great democracy in South Asia with whom we have had a testy relationship in 25 years, critical in dealing with problems in that  area, and we are going to say them and no one also gets this treaty," Dodd said.

"You can imagine the reaction from a nation working out now to us for the first time in half an century to get us back on a different one. India would see this as an effort to put in place special penalties against that nation if it were to respond. So, frankly, the proposed new section is, as I said, a section I think poses very serious, serious issues," he said.

"These are concerns all of us share.... there is not a single one that does not have the same worries and concerns that my colleague from North Dakota expressed as well as my friend and colleague from New Mexico..."

"The problem with having a proliferation of nuclear devices  around is a concern to all of us and, obviously, each and every one of us bear responsibility to do everything we can to minimize the threat such weapons pose," Dodd said, while opposing the amendment.

He said the Bill is comprehensive in many ways and certainly not perfect by anyone's stretch.

The Republican Floor Manager Senator Lugar also rose in opposition to the Dorgan-Bingaman amendment stressing that the Bill before the Congress and the Hyde Act addresses the issue of a future Indian nuclear test in a "very clear and definitive way".

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