Bush assures fuel supply as he signs historic n-deal law (Second Lead)

October 9th, 2008 - 2:59 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghWashington, Oct 9 (IANS) US President George W. Bush has signed the enabling law on the India-US civil nuclear deal with an assurance that the US would honour its commitment on nuclear fuel supply assurances and processing of spent fuel.”This agreement sends a signal to the world: nations that follow the path to democracy and responsible behaviour will find a friend in the United States of America,” said Bush as he signed the historic law that will allow the two countries to resume nuclear trade after three decades.

“This is a big deal,” he said before sitting down to sign the historic law - H.R. 7081, the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act - at 2:34 p.m. Wednesday (00: 04 a.m. Thursday India time) in the East Room of the White House.

India and the US are halfway across the globe, but they are natural partners, said the president thanking the Indian-American community across the nation for pushing the deal and the US Congressional leadership for getting the bill passed at the very end of session before breaking for the Nov 4 elections.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, Indian Ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen and US Ambassador to India, David Mulford were among a select gathering witnessing the signing ceremony.

Also attending were prominent members of the Indian-American community, captains of industry, lawmakers, diplomats and officials, who played a major role in getting the deal through the Congress in less than a month after the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) gave India a waiver on nuclear trade.

With the enabling law in place, Rice and Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee are expected to formally ink the 123 agreement here Friday to give effect to the landmark accord, envisioned by Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, 2005.

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