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Congressmen cautiously welcome India-US nuclear deal

Written by: Staff

Washington, Mar 3 (UNI) Chairman of the United States House International Relations Committee Rep Henry J Hyde (Republican from Illinois) welcomed the proposed civilian nuclear cooperation agreement between India and the US as a sign of further strengthening of cooperation between the two countries.

In a statement yesterday, he said, ''I welcome the further strengthening of India-US cooperation. Implementing this agreement will require legislative approval. It is the responsibility of this Committee to thoroughly examine the specific provisions of this agreement and its potential consequences for US interests and those of the international community.'' Democrat Congressman from New York and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans Gary Ackerman and a senior member of the House International Relations Committee, has hailed the civilian nuclear energy agreement between India and the United States as a new era of cooperation between the two countries.

Mr Ackerman said, ''Although I strongly differ with President George W Bush on a broad range of issues both domestically and internationally, I agree with him on the subject of the US-India nuclear deal. India is worthy of a new era of cooperation with the United States on civilian use of nuclear power and the agreement is the right strategic choice.'' Unfortunately, he said, ''while the President is right on the merits, he's short on the plan for getting it passed. The President has, thus far, done a horrendous job of convincing Congress that the agreement is a good idea. Now that there is an agreement with India, he must get to work and make the case to Congress or else the nuclear deal will blow up in his face.

He further said, ''The benefits of the deal are obvious to me, but there are many members of Congress who do not support the agreement and are already working to defeat it. It was tough work to seal the deal while in India, but the President's true difficulties with it, now lie here at home.'' ''The deal was announced yesterday by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the President's trip to India. Since India is not a signatory to Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), Mr Bush must seek an exemption from Congress in order for the nuclear agreement to be concluded,'' he said.


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