123 agreement will become legal document: India

September 13th, 2008 - 1:21 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) India Friday maintained it would be solely guided by the 123 agreement with the United States on civil nuclear cooperation that will become a legal document once it enters into force.The Indian response came in the wake of media reports quoting from a letter written by the US State Department to Congressman Howard Bermen last year that the fuel supply assurance mentioned in the agreement was not “legally binding” on the US.

The external affairs ministry said in a statement: “The government of India does not comment on domestic political processes in the US or other countries.”

It maintained that “in working with the US in civil nuclear cooperation, India will be guided by the 123 Agreement alone”.

The Bermen letter, released last week in sections of the American media, drew critical comments from some political parties here which charged the government with “misleading” the nation on the India-US nuclear deal.

“The text of the India-US 123 Agreement has been agreed upon by the governments of India and the United States. It is a public document. The rights and obligations of both India and the US are clearly spelt out in the terms and provisions of the 123 Agreement,” ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said in the statement.

He pointed out that “once this Inter-Governmental Agreement enters into force, the agreement would become a legal document in accordance with well-recognised principles of international law and the Law of Treaties”.

“The India-US civil nuclear cooperation will be carried out on the basis of the respective rights and obligations of the two sides as contained in the agreement. By doing so, the government will ensure that India’s rights are fully protected,” Sarna added.

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