White House sends Indo-US N-deal to US Congress

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Washington, Sep 11: On Wednesday, Sep 10 night, The White House said that it had sent the historic Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement to the US Congress for final approval. The US Congress's approval is a prerequisite for lifting the 30-year-old ban on the sale of nuclear technology and fuel to India imposed after New Delhi conducted its first nuclear test.

The N-deal was signed by US president George W Bush and Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh in July 2005. It offers India access to western technology and atomic energy as long as it allows UN nuclear inspections of some of its nuclear facilities. "The Agreement will reinforce the growing bilateral relationship between two vibrant democracies. The United States is committed to a strategic partnership with India. The Agreement promises to be a major milestone in achieving and sustaining that goal," President George W Bush said in a statement.

The White House said it was transmitting the text of the agreement and other relevant documents to lawmakers, who returned to work on Monday, Sep 8 after their August recess and were expected to leave Washington again in late September to campaign ahead of the November 4 US presidential elections, leaving little time for action on the deal.

The statement reiterated, "The agreement, signed by President Bush and India PM in July 2005, provides a comprehensive framework for US peaceful nuclear cooperation with India." "It permits the transfer of information, non-nuclear material, nuclear material, equipment (including reactors) and components for nuclear research and nuclear power production. It does not permit transfers of any restricted data," it said.

The statement made it clear that sensitive nuclear technology, heavy-water production technology and production facilities, sensitive nuclear facilities, and major critical components of such facilities might not be transferred under the Agreement unless the Agreement was amended.

The Agreement will remain in force for a period of 40 years and will continue in force thereafter for additional periods of ten years each unless either party gives notice to terminate it six months before the end of the period.


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