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US congressman's response to Indian PM on nuclear deal

by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Aug 13, 2007
A veteran congressman on Monday branded a landmark US civilian nuclear deal with India as a "capitulation" to New Delhi and demanded details on Indian ties with Iran.

Representative Ed Markey released a statement following Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's defense of the accord in a speech to parliament.

"The Bush administration claims it is seeking nuclear cooperation, but in reality, the agreement it negotiated is 'nuclear capitulation' to India's every wish," the Massachusetts Democrat said.

"Prime Minister Singh's comments today are yet another indication that this agreement does not comply with the law Congress wrote and passed last year ... to condition and restrict any agreement.

"As currently drafted, this is a bad deal for our country and a damaging blow to non-proliferation efforts worldwide," Markey said.

The accord, which covers civil nuclear technology, was rejected almost immediately by the Indian opposition and Singh's communist allies.

But in a speech in parliament, Singh said New Delhi had not agreed to "any provision that mandates scrutiny of our nuclear weapons programme or any unsafeguarded nuclear facilities."

"India is committed to a voluntary, unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing," Singh said, adding that the pact did not preclude India from launching future nuclear tests.

Markey also warned that India would have to "thoroughly disclose and detail its relationship" with US foe Iran before Congress could act on the deal.

The detailed pact governing nuclear trade between India and United States was concluded in India last month but needs the backing of the US Congress.

Tom Lantos, Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee this month promised intense scrutiny of the deal.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the top Republican on the committee said she too had concerns, including India's right to reprocess US-origin nuclear fuel under the agreement, and technology that could be used to enhance the Asian giant's nuclear weapons program.

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Indian PM defends controversial US nuclear deal
New Delhi (AFP) Aug 13, 2007
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday defended a controversial civilian nuclear accord with the United States, saying it would not affect the nation's military programme or any plans to test atomic weapons.







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