India gives a Cautious Welcome to the Nuclear Bill

The Indo-US Nuclear Co-operation Bill is on its way to become law. Barring a full scale Martian invasion of the Earth this weekend it is more or less certain that it will become law when it is signed by US President George Bush early next week. He along with Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has worked very hard to get this bill through the Congress and this will go down as one of the legacies of his Presidency, that of helping build a new strategic partnership between the two largest democracies in the world.

December 08, 2006 Reacting cautiously, India on Friday said it welcomed the United States bill on the nuclear deal but noted that it contained certain ‘extraneous’ and ‘prescriptive’ provisions.

“The government welcomes the outcome of the conference in the US Congress that has reconciled the waver bills earlier passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate respectively that would enable resumption of civil nuclear energy cooperation between India and the US,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

He, however, said that government also noted that the draft contained certain extraneous and prescriptive provisions. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will be making a statement on the issue in Parliament soon, the spokesman said.

“We appreciate the personal effort and commitment demonstrated by President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in taking this initiative forward. We are also encouraged by the broad bipartisan support of the Congressional leadership for stronger Indo-US ties,” Sarna said.

Observing that the legislation that will be passed is an amendment to the law of the US, he said: “Our obligations and commitments will be those that we undertake in the bilateral 123 agreement.”

He said: “We expect that to adhere to the July 18 joint statement and the separation plan. We look forward to working with the US administration for an early conclusion of a satisfactory agreement.”

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Filed under India and the World, Indian Foreign Policy, Indo-US relations, International Politics, National Security

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