Bush says n-deal would not help India make bombs

October 22nd, 2008 - 10:19 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 22 (IANS) The India-US civil nuclear deal has taken another step towards implementation with President George W. Bush certifying to the Congress that it would not in any way help India to make or acquire nuclear weapons.In the first set of certifications required under the US law approving the historic agreement, Bush said Tuesday it was consistent with the obligation of the United States under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

The president also declared that it is Washington’s policy to work with the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group to further restrict the transfers of equipment and technology related to the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

Bush conveyed the two certifications under a Presidential Determination made Oct 20 in a memorandum to the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

He also notified the Congress about his determination in separate letters to the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, the Chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as also the top Republican members on the two panels.

Bush has to make another set of certifications before the implementing 123 agreement comes into force with an exchange of diplomatic notes and the two countries can resume nuclear trade banned since India’s first “peaceful nuclear explosion” in May 1974.

Eyeing a $150 billion business opportunity, the US is planning to send a nuclear trade mission to India in December led by the US India Business Council, representing 280 of the largest US companies investing in India.

Under Sec 104 of the approval law, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission can issue licences for transfers of nuclear material and equipment only after the president determines and certifies to Congress that:

(1) the Agreement Between the Government of India and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the Application of Safeguards to Civilian Nuclear Facilities, as approved by the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency on August 1, 2008 (the ‘Safeguards Agreement’), has entered into force; and

(2) the Government of India has filed a declaration of facilities pursuant to paragraph 13 of the Safeguards Agreement that is not materially inconsistent with the facilities and schedule described in paragraph 14 of the separation plan presented in the national parliament of India on May 11, 2006, taking into account the later initiation of safeguards than was anticipated in the separation plan.

In his memorandum to Rice asking her to publish his determination in the Federal Register, Bush said: “Pursuant to section 102(c) and section 204(a) of the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act, I hereby certify that:

1. Entry into force and implementation of the United States-India Agreement for Cooperation on Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy pursuant to its terms is consistent with the obligation of the United States under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons not in any way to assist, encourage, or induce India to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and

2. It is the policy of the United States to work with members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, individually and collectively, to agree to further restrict the transfers of equipment and technology related to the enrichment of uranium and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.

Bush’s letter to various Congressional functionaries read: “I am pleased to transmit to the Congress the certifications required under section 102(c) and section 204(a) of the “United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act” (Public Law 110-369), and a Memorandum of Justification regarding those certifications.”

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