Bush hails House, asks Senate to quickly approve n-dealSeptember 28th, 2008 - 9:04 am ICT by IANS
Washington, Sep 28 (IANS) Hailing the approval of the India-US civil nuclear deal by the US House of Representatives, President George Bush has urged the Senate to quickly follow suit to “help strengthen our partnership with India.”"I urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this important piece of legislation before their October adjournment,” he said in a statement Saturday as the House approved the implementing 123 agreement by an overwhelming 298 to 117 vote.
“Signing this bipartisan bill will help strengthen our partnership with India,” Bush told the senators as he congratulated the lower house for taking “another major step forward in achieving the transformation” of the two countries’ relationship.
The president thanked the members of Congress who helped to pass this legislation, especially the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Democratic Chairman Howard Berman and its top Republican member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
In singling out Berman, he acknowledged his role in pushing the deal through after holding out for several days due to his professed reservations over the Nuclear Suppliers Group waiver for India for resuming nuclear trade.
“In addition, I would like to recognise the contributions of two great Americans and legislators, Congressmen Tom Lantos and Henry Hyde, who saw early on the importance of a strategic partnership with India and of bringing the people of our two great nations together through this initiative,” Bush said.
It was Henry Hyde, who as then Republican chairman of the House panel crafted the enabling US law named after him along with the panel’s top Democrat Tom Lantos.
The House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, too hailed the passage of the landmark accord saying it would further the two countries’ strategic relationship while balancing nuclear non-proliferation concerns and India’s growing energy needs.
The “legislation recognises India’s past support for non-proliferation initiatives and strengthens congressional oversight of any future US decision to assist India’s civilian nuclear programme,” she said.
The approval legislation “allows India access to nuclear material in exchange for international inspections of India’s civilian reactors,” a statement issued by her office said.
“Today’s approval by the House of the US-India nuclear cooperation agreement furthers our countries’ strategic relationship while balancing nuclear non-proliferation concerns and India’s growing energy needs,” the speaker said.
“The action by the House endorses recent decisions by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group to make India a formal part of the global non-proliferation regime and reflects a judgment by the international community that India can be an increasingly effective partner on this crucial issue in the years to come,” Pelosi added.