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Bush urges Cong to endorse civilian N-deal with India

By Super
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Washington, Mar 23: US President George W Bush has urged the Congress to endorse a landmark accord with India to share nuclear technology even as skeptical lawmakers are considering legislation to allow nuclear commerce with New Delhi.

Enumerating the reasons for giving an exceptional treatment to India, Bush said India had proven itself over 30 years to be a non-proliferator.

''It's in our interest that India use nuclear power to power their economic growth because ... there's a global connection between demand for fossil fuels elsewhere and price here,'' he said in Wheeling, West Virginia state where he gave a speech mainly on Iraq and the war on terror.

Bush was replying to a question, after his speech, on why India, which was not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, was given preferential treatment in providing nuclear energy while Iran had been denied the same facility even though it was a signatory to the NPT.

Bush said, ''The difficulty with that issue, and that Congress is going to have to deal with, is that India has heretofore been denied technologies from the United States because of previous decisions they made about nuclear weaponry.'' He said, however, ''my attitude is that over 30 years, they have proven themselves to be a non-proliferator, that they're a transparent democracy; it's in our interest that they develop nuclear power for -- to help their economy grow they need power and they need energy to do so and they're willing to go under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is an international forum to make sure that there are certain safeguards''.

On the other hand, the Iranians, he said, ''are a non-transparent society. They're certainly not a democracy. They are sponsors of terrorism. They have joined the IAEA, and yet we caught them cheating. In other words, they weren't upholding the agreements, and they started to try to enrich uranium in order to develop a weapons programme. India is heading to the IAEA; the Iranians are ignoring IAEA.

"Under the India-US civilian nuclear deal, Washington would provide nuclear energy to power India's economic growth in return for which New Delhi has agreed to bring its nuclear facilities under international safeguards.

Legislation to implement the accord was introduced last week and Congressional approval is a pre-requisite for implementation of the accord, which was arranged during President Bush's visit to New Delhi early this month.

UNI

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