Skip to comments.Congress divided, but IAEA backs US-India deal
Posted on 03/02/2006 4:44:10 PM PST by mylife
WASHINGTON: The US Congress was divided on the groundbreaking India-US nuclear cooperation agreement finalised on Thursday by President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, even as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) came out in support of the deal.
Members of the Congress who have traditionally supported the deal, like Joe Wilson and Joe Crowley, sent out a "Dear Colleague" letter to members of the house urging them to support the pact that requires the Congress to change US laws for its implementation.
At the same time, others like Ed Markey vocally opposed the agreement on the grounds that it would weaken the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), though with the latest steps taken in New Delhi, the divisions in the Congress may become blurred.
The IAEA strongly supported the agreement announced in New Delhi following talks between visiting President Bush and Manmohan Singh, saying it was historic and could consolidate efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear arms and to combat nuclear terrorism.
"This agreement is an important step towards satisfying India's growing need for energy, including nuclear technology and fuel, as an engine for development," said IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, adding it would also bring India closer as an important partner in the non-proliferation regime.
"It would be a milestone, timely for ongoing efforts to consolidate the non-proliferation regime, combat nuclear terrorism and strengthen nuclear safety," he said.
"It would also be a step forward towards universalisation of the international safeguards regime. This agreement would serve the interests of both India and the international community."
The practical aspects of the agreement includes a commitment by India to open up a majority of its nuclear power reactors and associated nuclear facilities to permanent IAEA safeguards, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said.
"Since the establishment of the Indian nuclear programme in 1974, there has been no international oversight, and now the majority of India's programme will be under supervision of the international agency," Burns said.
This is a point the Bush administration will make to Congress in its bid to get the legislature to make India an exception to the prevailing regime under which the US cannot share nuclear technology with any country that is not a signatory to the NPT.
Burns noted that India had for the very first time in 30 years accepted new non-proliferation obligations. It has passed a national export control law that will bring its legal requirements into international conformance.
India has also committed to refrain from transferring any of its nuclear technologies and reasserted its commitment to maintain a unilateral moratorium of nuclear testing. It has agreed to work with the US towards a fissile material cut-off treaty, Burns said.
"These are gains that were not possible during any time over the last 30 years, they are made possible by this agreement today," he said.
ndia presented a plan to separate its military and civil nuclear facilities, an absolute must for Congress to even begin to consider the deal.
Burns said: "We now believe that there will be two initiatives that we have to undertake to regularise this agreement. First the president will have to approach the Congress to ask for a change in US law, specifically modifications to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, and the way in which it was modified in 1978.
"And we hope very much, in working with Congress, that we'll be able to convince the Congress to move forward and change American law."
The deal also opens the door for India to approach the global community for nuclear technology.
Wow! Praise from the IAEA
Well hell, yeah the IAEA wants EVERYONE to have Nuke Tech... I thought they've made that ABUNDANTLY clear over the few years...
IAEA came out in support of the deal.
I kinda figured theyd grouse about circumventing the NPT
I am equally surprised that the IAEA came out in favor of this deal. There is no logical reason for them to oppose it but the IAEA has not really been at is best behavior lately.
Yeah, I expect automatic naysaying to just about anything the current administration proposes.
Now we have to get this item passed on the hill
Let's be brutally honest.
India and Israel are the two nations on the front lines if the Caliphate ever comes into existence.
We backed the wrong horse (Pakistan) long ago, so it is about time we got our act together.
We are still backing that horse, but the new agreement with India is bound to cause some US/PAK friction
They have a strong motive to oppose the deal: the US will tolerate the fact that India hasn't signed the Nonproliferation Treaty, which the IAEA is supposed to police.
I don't like this deal because it makes us look inconsistent: Iran now has an excuse not to comply with the IAEA since we just rewarded India for doing the same.
The comparison between India and Iran is not accurate. India NEVER signed the NPT (along with Israel) while Iran did. So, India isn't breaking any treaties while Iran is going against an international accord that it accepted.
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