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'No Indo-US cooperation if India conducts N-test'

Written by: Staff
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Washington, June 29 : The Lugar-Biden legislation, on moving forward the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal being taken up today for consideration by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, explicitly stipulates that if India conducts a nuclear test, Indo-US cooperation will be terminated.

Section 129 of the Atomic Energy Act, which is preserved under the Lugar-Biden bill, terminates US nuclear cooperation if India conducts a nuclear test, proliferates nuclear weapons or materials, or breaks its agreements with the IAEA or the United States.

A copy of the draft bill was made available to reporters last night from Senator Lugar's office.

Saying that Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement was in the national security interest of both countries, Republican Senator Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged Senators to vote in favor of the legislation without conditions that would kill the agreement.

''It resulted from a delicately balanced negotiation. Neither side got everything it wanted,'' Mr Lugar said adding that nevertheless, the Bush administration and the Indian government got the best under the circumstances.

Talking about the various provisions in the Lugar-Biden mark legislation to be taken up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, Mr Lugar said the bill has a sense of the Congress, waiver and policy statements provisions.

''Senator Biden and I have sought to ensure that important export control and non-proliferation efforts remain strong and consistent,'' he said.

According to Senator Lugar the sections 2 and 3 of the Lugar-Biden bill include sense of the Congress provisions on Indo-US relations and policy declarations.

These provisions give voice to a set of important policy issues involving bilateral relations, democratic values, nuclear non-proliferation regimes, fissile material production in South Asia, and support for IAEA safeguards and the Nuclear Suppliers Group. All of these concerns are reinforced by the bill's comprehensive reporting requirements.

Section 4 provides waiver authority from provisions in the Atomic Energy Act and removes the prohibition on cooperating with India due to its 1998 weapons tests and its existing weapons program. At the same time, Section 129 of the Atomic Energy Act, which is preserved under the Lugar-Biden bill, terminates nuclear cooperation if India conducts a nuclear test, proliferates nuclear weapons or materials, or breaks its agreements with the IAEA or the United States.

Section 5 adopts all of the Administration's requirements to ensure that India is meeting its non-proliferation commitments.

In addition, we require that decisions in the Nuclear Suppliers Group enabling nuclear trade with India are made by consensus and consistent with its rules. Our aim is to guarantee that this multilateral organisation will continue to play a vital role in global non-proliferation efforts.

Section 6 supports timely consideration of nuclear export applications, but prohibits exports of equipment, materials or technology related to the enrichment of uranium, the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, or the production of heavy water.

The provision allows narrow exceptions for the export of these items to India from the United States if they are for proliferation-resistant activities that involve the United States or have the sponsorship of a recognised international body like the IAEA.

This provision is consistent with the administration's policy regarding such transfers.

It would allow cooperation in sensitive nuclear areas only if such cooperation could be implemented with no risk of proliferation.

Section 7 requires the creation of a system to ensure that no items exported to India are diverted to any uses that are not peaceful. This section seeks to ensure US compliance with our NPT obligations.

Section 8 requires annual Presidential certifications that India is meeting its commitments under the July 2005 joint statement, its separation plan, New Delhi's safeguards agreement and additional protocol with the IAEA, the 123 Agreement, and applicable US laws regarding US exports to India.

Section 9 requires that no action be undertaken pursuant to peaceful cooperation with India that would violate any US obligation under the NPT.

Section 10 explicitly stipulates that if India conducts a nuclear test, Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation will be terminated.

Finally, Sections 11 and 12 define Missile Technology Control Regime adherence and various terms used in the bill.

At the same time, Section 129 of the Atomic Energy Act, which is preserved under the Lugar-Biden bill, terminates nuclear cooperation if India conducts a nuclear test, proliferates nuclear weapons or materials, or breaks its agreements with the IAEA or the United States.

UNI

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