India rubbishes nuclear design sale report

September 19th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) India Friday slammed a report by a US think tank that alleged New Delhi had sold sensitive nuclear drawings for a pittance. “It’s rubbish. It was rubbish then and it’s rubbish now,” Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told reporters about a report by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) that claimed India sold sensitive nuclear blueprints for as little as $10.

The report, published two years ago, was again raked up by the Washington Post Thursday which carried an article, “‘06 Blueprint Leak Intensifies Concerns Over US-India Deal”, based solely on an interview with ISIS president David Albright.

The Post report came on the eve of a hearing by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, headed by Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, to review the implementing 123 agreement that is expected to fast-track Congressional approval of the the India-US nuclear deal.

Menon reacted cautiously when asked about the testimony by Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns before the Senate panel in which he said that fuel assurances given to India are political commitments that do not translate into legally binding commitments.

“We do not comment on internal processes of another country. As far as we are concerned, it is the 123 that will govern the nuclear relationship,” Menon said.

India is likely to sign the 123 agreement with the US when Manmohan Singh meets President George W. Bush in Washington Sep 25. The signing of the pact can only happen after the Congressional approval of the pact.

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