M A I N   N E W S

Separate civil, military N-facilities, India told
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 30
The US Congress will pass the Indo-US nuclear deal after it gets concrete evidence of a marked delineation of India’s civil and military nuclear facilities, Mr Dan Burton, leader of a visiting seven-member congressional delegation, said today.

Mr Burton, an “India baiter”, said at a joint press conference with the congressional leaders — Republican as well as Democrat — that he had fallen in love with India and that the human rights situation in the Kashmir valley had “considerably improved”.

He said he had always felt that the Kashmir situation should be addressed and now it was being done. “I have always been an admirer of India and its culture. But human rights bothered me. That is now changing,” he said. In another context, he said: “Look, I have no horns... I have fallen in love with India, its people and the leadership.”

Mr Burton and other members of the congressional delegation maintained that the Indo-US nuclear agreement was the “pathway” which both countries could walk together, but there had to be a clear delineation between civilian and military nuclear facilities.

Their argument was that the restrictions were not against India or any particular country, but in the general interest of world security.

Ms Sheila Jackson Lee, another member of the Congress delegation, said: “The world is apprehensive about nuclear power and what it can do. We are not talking about a particular country or region. We are looking at world safety. It is not personal to India.”

Ms Lee said the US could play a strategic role in its developing areas and the two countries could have a meaningful partnership in the fields of education, energy security, infrastructure development, poverty eradication, war on terror and fight against AIDS.

The delegation members welcomed the India-Pakistan reconciliation process and the initiatives taken by the two country’s leaderships and said the solution to the Kashmir issue was not easy.

Mr Burton said the issue of Kashmir was now being addressed. “It (solution) is not going to be easy. We all understand that. It is still in its infancy”

Mr Burton said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement to make efforts to erase the visible borders was a giant step, but refused to elaborate on this. He said Washington would work with India and Pakistan to win the war on terror and said the congressional delegation, which is going to Pakistan from here, would broach with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf the issue of terrorism “that may be emanating from Pakistan or that general area.”

The leaders met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several parliamentarians during their three-day stay here. Their discussions with Indian political leaders were on nuclear energy, terrorism and economic cooperation. Other members of the delegation were Mr Al Green, Mr Steven Pearce, Mr Joe Wilson, Ms Carolyn McCarthy and Ms Loreta Sanchez.


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