7/22/2005

Bush Nuclear Deal may be criminal offense

President George W. Bush signed an agreement Monday with the Prime Minister of India to help the nuclear armed country develop its civilian nuclear power capability. But a measure passed by members of the House of Representatives Tuesday disapproves that arrangement for India, which is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

During their meeting at the White House on Monday, President Bush told India's Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, that as a responsible state with advanced nuclear technology, India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states. The two leaders signed a joint statement to lift a ban on sale of U.S. civilian nuclear technology to India. Recognizing India's continued unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, President Bush expressed his appreciation to the Prime Minister over India's "strong commitment" to preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and said he will "work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India" as it realizes its goals of promoting nuclear power and achieving energy security."

Under the agreement, India would be allowed to buy nuclear fuel and reactor components from the United States and other countries. In exchange India would allow international inspections and safeguards on its civilian nuclear program, but not its nuclear-weapons arsenal, and not detonate any more weapons tests.

U.S. law bans export of technology that could support a nuclear program of any country that has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, and India has not signed it.

On Tuesday, the same day that Prime Minister Singh addressed a joint session of the House and Senate, a bipartisan energy panel of the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a measure forbidding export of nuclear technology to India and other countries not party to the nonproliferation treaty and which have detonated a nuclear device. House Members have vowed to continue press for action to address their concerns over the exportation of nuclear materials to non-nuclear states.

President Bush told the Indian leader that he will seek agreement from Congress to adjust U.S. laws and policies to allow the export of nuclear technology to India. In addition, Bush promised, the United States will work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India, including but not limited to expeditious consideration of fuel supplies for safeguarded nuclear reactors at Tarapur.

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