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Legislation on Indo-US nuclear deal would be passed: Burns

Written by: Staff
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Washington, Mar 16 (UNI) US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns today said he was confident that despite some objections from lawmakers, legislation on the Indo-US nuclear deal would be passed since it enjoyed support of a large number of Senators and Congressmen.

Briefing newspersons after the legislation was moved in the US Senate and the House of Representatives, Mr Burns said Washington's landmark nuclear energy agreement with India will strengthen global security and is a 'good nonproliferation'.

The deal offered to meet India's growing energy needs, will open most of India's reactors to international inspections and provide the nation with US nuclear technology, he said.

Subject to US Congressional approval, the United States will share its nuclear know-how and fuel with India to help power its fast-growing economy.

He also mentioned how India has been a good steward of its nuclear know-how and how it has never been a proliferators.

Stressing that the deal enjoys the backing of several senators and Congresspersons, Mr Burns said the special treatment given to India will not have a negative impact on nonproliferation regime.

Differenciating Iran and India on the nuclear issue he said Iran was an autocratic regime which threatened the United States and defied the international community by continuing to pursue its search for a nuclear weapon, whereas India, a peaceful democracy, has decided to open its nuclear facilities to international inspections and ''is ready to embrace the nonproliferation regime''.

The agreement also strengthens security by expanding the reach of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to have access to Indian civil nuclear facilities which it currently does not have, he noted.

The State Department official said that the nuclear deal with India has already brought 19 per cent of India's civilian nuclear facilities under international safeguards. Once the agreement about the separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities was implemented, 65 per cent of India's civilian reactors will be open for international inspection,'' he said.

Everyone understands a growing economy like India needs energy supply and civil nuclear energy is clean, it protects the environment, it can be plentiful and currently India was not capable of pursuing civil nuclear power to the degree that it will need to, Mr Burns said.

In recent years India's economy has swelled at more than 7 per cent per year, and many analysts believe it is poised to grow even faster in the coming years.

Meanwhile, President Bush, in a 49-page report released here today said we have set aside decades of mistrust and put relations with India, the world's most populous democracy, on a new and fruitful path.

''India is a great democracy and our shared values are the foundation of our good relations. Our goal is for the entire region of south and central Asia to be democratic, prosperous and at peace,'' he said.

UNI XC SK RAI0116

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