Saturday, November 18, 2006

U.S. - India Nuclear Deal Ratified by the U.S. Senate

The United States Senate overwhelmingly ratified (85-12) the U.S. - India Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal. Some "killer amendments", including one which put a cap on India's fissile material production and one which mandated severance of military ties with Iran were rejected. India saw these clauses as infringing on their nuclear autonomy and hence if these "killer" clauses were passed then it would imply the demise of the Nuclear deal. However the deal is not out of the woods yet, as ratification by Congress via joint resolution will have to be sought once the agreement is signed by the two countries. The nuclear cooperation deal is being approved in the form of a congressional-executive agreement rather than a treaty. Therefore Congress approval has to be sought twice. This bill authorizes the President to waive the U.S. law restrictions under the Atomic Energy Act (which mandates the implementation of the International Atomic Energy Agency's safeguards regime) in sharing nuclear power with India. Therefore the restrictions imposed on nations sharing nuclear technology with the U.S., which usually meant that these deals were limited to nations under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty system, will not be applicable to India specifically. Here's The Hindu on the nuclear deal.


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