Washington, Sep 12: Republican Congressman Joe Wilson on Thursday, Sep 11 night sent letter a to fellow lawmakers urging strong support for the US-India civilian nuclear agreement as New Delhi has an 'excellent' non-proliferation record. President Bush formally presented the nuclear agreement to Congress on Wednesday, Sep 10 for its approval.
As Congress begins to consider legislation implementing the agreement, Mr Wilson, in a 'dear colleague' letter said, "we should recognize both the historic nature of this deal and the emerging strategic importance of India in global affairs." He explained that "India's nuclear weapons program is solely designed as a deterrent, based on India's own legitimate security assessments. India has pledged never to use nuclear weapons first.
With China, Pakistan, and North Korea all maintaining nuclear weapons programs, it is unfair to criticize democratic India for taking steps to ensure the safety of its citizens." The Republican leader said, "this agreement takes a realistic assessment of India's nuclear weapons program and enhances international non-proliferation efforts by working with the IAEA and a country we can trust. India has had four nuclear reactors under IAEA safeguards for decades. Fourteen of their twenty-two reactors will be under permanent safeguards under this agreement." He recalled that "the U S and India were estranged for too long during the Cold War. With the opening of India's economy to the West and a vibrant Indian American community reshaping America's image in India, our relationship has dramatically changed." He said "more U S companies have invested in India than ever before. Our militaries regularly train together in joint exercises.
Indian students fill our colleges and universities. Americans have embraced Indian food, yoga, and South Asian culture." "Indians watch American television, listen to our music, and watch our movies. Polls consistently show Indians with very high favourable views of America and vice versa. Our two countries have grown closer based on shared values of democracy, freedom, religious pluralism, and belief in free markets," the lawmaker said.