US understands Indias political process on nuke deal

December 6th, 2007 - 7:35 pm ICT by admin  

Washington/New Delhi, Dec 6 (ANI): Asserting that the US would very much like to see the bilateral civilian nuclear agreement with India move forward and be finalised, the State Department today said Washington understands that New Delhi needs to work through the political process in the country.

We continue to believe it’s something that’s in the best interests of the United States, of India, and of the broader international community in efforts to inhibit the proliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear weapons. So, we certainly hope that it does move forward and does go through, State Department Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said.

He further said that Washington understands that the Indian Government has its own political process that it needs to work through.

And fully expect that, regardless of the outcome or the timing of this agreement, that we are going to continue to expand our relations with India, because it is an increasingly important player on the world’s stage and it’s a country with which we have much in common and for too long, weren’t working with in the way we are now. So, we want to make sure that not only we see this nuclear agreement move forward, but that more importantly our broader relations with India continue to develop and grow, Casey added.

When pointed out that while Indian Left parties were against this agreement because of their contacts with the Chinese, but now Chinese are also supporting this agreement, Casey said: We certainly want to see this agreement move forward.

We hope it will. But ultimately, in terms of the decisions within the Indian political system, we respect the needs and the rights of their political leaders to work this through themselves, but we’re ready and able to move forward whenever they would like us to, he added.

Earlier today, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that the bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation agreement would help to achieve India’s energy targets and contribute to growth in vital sectors of the economy, including industry and agriculture.

Regarding the position of financial gains that the country would have from the bilateral agreement, Mukherjee said it is critical that India’s current GDP growth rate of 8-10 per cent per annum is maintained in order to achieve the objective of eradication of poverty.

“For this, it is necessary to explore and exploit all sources of energy,” he said in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.

He further said that the agreement on the cooperation in civil uses of nuclear energy could result in substantial additional power generating capacity.

“The Integrated Energy Policy, 2006 sets a target for the year 2020 of 20,000 MW of nuclear power generation. This could double with international cooperation,” Mukherjee said.

After too much of hue and cry, the Left parties gave the green signal to the government to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for holding talks on an India-specific safeguards agreement.

Following this, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar, on November 21, initiated the process of talks with IAEA Director-General Mohammad ElBaradei on India-specific safeguards agreement related to the deal.

However, the Left asked the government not to initiate any accord, but bring back the draft of the safeguards agreement to the UPA-Left Committee.

The nuke deal faces an informal US deadline related to securing approval of America’s Congress well before the next year presidential polls.
Three steps are required to operationalise the deal that include, safeguard agreement with the IAEA, amendment in the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group’s charter and the passing of the 123-agreement by the US Congress. (ANI)

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