US think tank advises against haste on n-deal

July 12th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, July 12 (IANS) A leading US think-tank has cautioned the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the US Congress against “getting bullied” into taking a hasty decision on the India-US nuclear deal, given its “dangerous” ramifications for non-proliferation efforts. New concerns have arisen recently as India makes a last ditch attempt to complete the agreement before the end of the Bush administration, the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, based in Washignton, said in a statement Friday.

“India and the Bush administration have played fast and loose in negotiating this agreement, disregarding the clear conditions that Congress had stipulated,” said Leonor Tomero, director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Centre.

“Given the discrepancies between the provisions that Congress insists on before completing the deal and the agreement that the administration negotiated with India, it is incumbent upon Congress and the NSG to give the agreement careful consideration and to not allow themselves to be rushed into a hasty decision,” he said.

The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is expected to meet July 28 to consider a safeguards agreement, after which the NSG members will be asked to exempt India from rules barring nuclear trade with those states that do not accept full-scope safeguards agreements on all of their nuclear facilities.

“This exemption would tie the hands of the next administration and greatly compromise US and international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and materials,” said John Isaacs, executive director of the think tank.

The Centre has said that the NSG may meet in September and that it will need at least two sessions to come to an agreement.

Once these two steps have been completed, the US Congress will be free to vote on the final India-US 123 agreement. Time is running out, however, the Centre said, as the US Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the year Sep 26.

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