Washington, Sept 19 : The United States has said it will ensure that India had a reasonable steady supply of nuclear fuel and in case of disruptions, it is determined to do everything possible.
On asked about the assurances on supply of nuclear fuel to India by the American Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns said: "The commitments, recorded in the 123 agreement are firm and solemn commitments on the part of the president. The President had made clear in the transmittal letter, they are political commitments, but we are determined to help India to try to ensure a reasonable steady supply of fuel." "Should disruptions arise, for example, trade disputes, a commercial firm fails to meet its requirements, then we are firmly determined to do everything we can to help in that instance," Burns further said.
Burns, however, said: "We have been asked what would happen if India conducts a nuclear weapons test, and the short answer is that while India maintains a sovereign right to test, we most certainly maintain a sovereign right to respond."
"We believe the Indian Government intends to uphold the continuation of the test moratorium it committed to in 2005 and reiterated in its September 5 statement. We also believe India will uphold its safeguards agreement with the IAEA. But Secretary Rice has noted clearly that we reserve the right to take appropriate action should India nonetheless resume nuclear testing and, as she told Congress in April 2006," Burns added. Pointing that Americans have been very clear with the Indians, Burns said: "Should India test, as it has agreed not to do, or should India in an way violate the IAEA safeguards agreements to which it would be adhering, the deal, from our point of view, would, at that point, be off, "
Meanwhile, the ongoing Senate's foreign relation panel has indicated strong desire among the top US lawmakers to get the deal approved during the current Congress session ending on September 26.
While presiding over the panel hearing on Thursday afternoon on behalf of Democratic party's Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden, acting chairman Christopher Dodd said: "I think like the evidence in the past, there is strong desire to reach agreement given the importance of this. Of course some members have reservations. There is an opportunity to express and ask colleagues to approve or disapprove the idea."
In his opening remarks to the panel, Dodd said that the agreement which was before the committee was not perfect and added that the approval of this agreement will still be a milestone in US-India relations and to approve it.
"In my view, we must. We would be well advised to approve it this month, moreover, rather than waiting until next year," Dodd said.