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Fuel supplies will be governed by 123 agreement: US

September 09, 2008 20:18 IST

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Amid a controversy over a State Department letter, the US on Tuesday said the fuel supplies to India will be governed by the 123 agreement even as it insisted that there was nothing in the letter that is "unknown" to New Delhi [Images].

US Ambassador David C Mulford insisted that there was "no discrepancy" between the 123 agreement and the views expressed by the Bush administration in the letter to Howard Berman, chairman of House Foreign Affairs Committee, in which the State Department said the assurance of fuel supplies was not to insulate India against consequences of a nuclear test.

"There is nothing new (in the letter) that the government of India did not know. The content in the material was known. The content is what we have discussed (with India)," the US ambassador said, insisting that there is "no discrepancy" in the letter.

He said the fuel supplies will be governed by the 123 agreement.

New Delhi is agitated over the contents of the letter, saying it gives an impression that the Bush administration is interpreting the 123 agreement differently as the pact makes it clear that the US will ensure uninterrupted supplies.

"It is a straightforward issue. The fuel assurances are contained in the language of the 123 agreement and the discussions that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and President George W Bush [Images] had in March 2006," Mulford said.

"These are the fuel assurances. There is no other fuel assurance," he said, adding, "whatever are the fuel assurances in the civilian nuclear cooperation will be governed by the 123 bilateral agreement."

On transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology, Mulford said the current US law does not allow it with regard to any country, but could not say if any changes would be made in the future in the policy.

Asked to comment on External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's remarks that India will not enter into civilian nuclear pacts with any country till the US Congress approves the 123 agreement, Mulford merely said, "That is correct."

The US has already said India should ensure that it does not put its companies at "disadvantage" after getting the NSG waiver, suggesting that it should hold on till the American Congress approves the 123 agreement.

India has civilian nuclear agreements with Russia [Images] and France [Images] ready and pending signatures.

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