Milestones on way to India-US civil nuclear deal

October 11th, 2008 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) Following are the twists and turns in the journey of the India-US civilian nuclear deal in the last three-and-a-half years. The deal was inked Friday.July 18, 2005: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush sign a joint statement in Washington that envisages a landmark civilian nuclear cooperation deal between the two countries.

March 1-3, 2006: Bush pays a three-day visit to India. India presents a separation plan of its civilian and military nuclear facilities under which India will place 14 of its reactors under international safeguards in phases.

December 2006: Both Houses of the US Congress approve the Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006 that allows the US administration to resume nuclear commerce with India.

Dec 18, 2006: Bush signs the enabling legislation approved by the US Congress.

July 27, 2007: India and the US announce the finalisation of bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement, also called the 123 agreement.

Aug 3, 2007: Text of the 123 agreement unveiled simultaneously in both countries.

October 2007: The deal runs into problems after the Indian government’s then Left allies attack it; they claim it is compromising India’s sovereignty and hurting the strategic programme.

November 2007-June 2008: The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left set up a joint panel to resolve their differences over the nuclear deal. The panel holds seven meetings over the next six months, but without any breakthrough.

June 25-July 6, 2008: The Left gives an ultimatum to the government to tell whether it was going ahead with the safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

July 7, 2008: Manmohan Singh leaves for Japan to attend the G8 summit; mid-air he tells the travelling media that the government was planning to go ahead with the IAEA pact.

July 9, 2008: The Communist parties announce they would withdraw support to the ruling coalition and call for a vote of no confidence.

July 22, 2008: The UPA government wins the trust vote.

Aug 1, 2008: The 35-member IAEA board of governors approves unanimously India-specific safeguards agreement.

Sep 3, 2008: A “secret” letter written by the State Department to the Congress saying that the US will terminate nuclear trade with India immediately should New Delhi test is made public, creating a political storm in India.

Sep 6, 2008: The NSG grants nuclear waiver to India, opening the doors of global nuclear commerce for New Delhi after 34 years.

Sep 25, 2008: Manmohan Singh meets Bush in Washington. Bush tells him the administration is working hard to get the 123 agreement approved by the US Congress.

Sep 27, 2008: House of Representatives passes the 123 agreement by a margin of 298-117.

Oct 1, 2008: Senate passes the approval bill 86-13.

Oct 4, 2008: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice comes to India to sign the 123 agreement. The deal is not signed due to procedural reasons.

Oct 8, 2008: Bush signs the enabling legislation - “H.R. 7081, the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act” - at a White House ceremony.

Oct 10, 2008: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Rice ink the 123 pact in Washington.

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