M A I N   N E W S

Bush wants civilian N-plans under IAEA norms

Washington, February 22
Days ahead of his visit to India, US President George W Bush today said India has to separate its civilian and military nuclear programmes and bring the civilian ones under IAEA safeguards which he admitted was not an easy decision to make.

“India first needs to bring its civilian energy programme under the same international safeguards that government power programmes do in other countries.

“India needs several nuclear initiatives and technology and it should bring its civilian programmes under IAEA safeguards. This is not an easy decision to make for India, nor is it an easy decision for the United States,” he said in his address to Asia Society here.

Implementing the nuclear agreement, reached between him and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July last year, “will take time and patience of both countries,” he said adding efforts would continue.

Mr Bush said he would continue to encourage India to create a credible, transparent and defensible plan to separate its civilian and military programmes.

“By following through on our commitments, we will bring India’s civilian nuclear programme into international mainstream and strengthen the bonds of trust between our two nations,” said Mr Bush, who would be paying a three-day visit to India beginning March 1.

Terming the July 18 initiative as a “bold step forward”, he said “it is not an easy decision for India nor an easy decision for the US”.

Noting that this understanding strengthened the bonds of trust between the two countries, he said relations between India and the US have never been better.

With diplomats and intellectuals as his audience, Mr Bush spoke about the growing ties between India and the US in various fields and also Washington’s relations with Pakistan where he would go from India.

Speaking about India in glowing terms, Mr Bush said he looked forward to meeting Singh and discussing ways to advance the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Referring to India’s “growing influence” in the world arena, Mr Bush said Indo-US cooperation would make the world more secure.

On Kashmir, he said the US would encourage both India and Pakistan to address “this important issue”. — PTI


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