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US denies N-document cover up

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | September 05, 2008 09:51 IST

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Rejecting that it had covered up documents on stoppage of fuel supplies if India conducts a nuclear test, the US has said New Delhi's [Images] obligations are very clear as it had agreed to a moratorium on nuclear testing.

"Certainly, India's obligations under the 123 agreement are very clear and the Indians have agreed to a moratorium on testing. And we expect they will adhere to that commitment," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

A 26-page document released by Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, contains an assertion by the Bush administration that its assurances of nuclear supplies to India are not meant to "insulate" it against the consequences of a nuclear test.

"The Indians understand what our views are with regard to nuclear testing. We've made them clear. And they understand those. There was no attempt to cover up anything," Wood said brushing off suggestion that Washington kept the document under wraps to protect the government in India.

"People have that interpretation, but that certainly was not the position of the US government. We weren't trying to keep anything under wraps. We've had discussions with various members of Congress about this agreement. We'll continue to do so.

We've stressed over and over again the importance of this agreement, not only to the United States and India, but to our overall non-proliferation efforts around the world," the official said.

The 'disclosures' set off a flurry of political activity in India with the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] even as the United Progressive Alliance government rejected charges that New Delhi will lose the sovereign right to conduct an atomic test.

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