M A I N   N E W S

White House calls it historic achievement
Ashish Kumar Sen writes from Washington

US President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh welcomed the decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to lift the nuclear trade embargo on India, the White House said on Saturday.

The two leaders spoke on the telephone earlier in the day. “The two leaders congratulated each other on the consensus reached at the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting in Vienna and expressed appreciation for the joint efforts made there to move forward with civil nuclear cooperation between the United States and India,” US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

“This is a historic achievement that strengthens global non-proliferation principles, while assisting India to meet its energy requirements in an environmentally friendly manner,” Johndroe said. “The US thanks the participating governments in the NSG for their outstanding efforts and cooperation to welcome India into the global non-proliferation community.” He added that the US “especially appreciates the role Germany played as Chair to move this process forward.”

The NSG decision to approve India-specific waivers and end India’s nuclear isolation is being lauded as “historic step” by supporters of the US-India nuclear deal and criticised as “profound setback” by the non-proliferation lobby.

The US-India Business Council, which has employed prominent Washington lobbyists to push the deal here in Washington, applauded the NSG decision saying it opens, for the first time in more than three decades, India’s opportunity to access civil nuclear technology and much-needed nuclear fuel.

“The NSG approval is an historic step forward for India and for the world,” said Ron Somers, president of the USIBC. “This landmark initiative will benefit global energy security, stem global warming, and it brings India into the global non-proliferation mainstream,” said Somers. He added that while the US-India relationship was stronger than ever, “It is vital for the overall bilateral relationship and for US commercial interests that the 123 agreement be ratified in this 110th US Congress.”

With the NSG decision all eyes are now on the US Congress, which returns to work on September 8 for a brief session. The deal must be taken up

by the Congress for an up or down vote before it can become operational. The initiative was announced by both countries when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Washington on July 18, 2005.

Given the historic significance of this initiative and the positive implications this has on the US-India relations, and due to the overwhelming bipartisan majority by which the Hyde Act passed in 2006: 359-68 in the House of Representatives and 85-12 in the US Senate, the USIBC is hopeful the US Congress will consummate the international endorsement of India by the NSG.

Meanwhile, Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, accused the US delegation to the NSG of resorting to “some nasty threats, misinformation about positions and intimidation to try to wear down” the three holdout countries.

“The last of the responsible NSG states to hold out for three common sense restrictions and post conditions on nuclear trade with India (termination of trade if India tests; no E&R transfers; and an annual review) were Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand,” Kimball noted. Kimball warned: “Clearly, the NSG’s decision to exempt India from key parts of its guidelines is a profound setback to the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament system that will produce dangerous ripple effects for years to come.”



Victory day, says Mulford
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 6
Hailing the NSG waiver as a “triumphant day” for India, the US said today it would now move forward to get the US Congress approval for the 123 agreement to operationalise the nuclear deal.

In a statement here, US Ambassador to India David C. Mulford welcomed the consensus of the NSG and congratulated the government and people of India on the historic agreement ending India’s nuclear isolation.

“This is a triumphant day for India. The Nuclear Suppliers Group consensus reached in Vienna today is the culmination of years of hard work and cooperation between India and the US to bring India into the global civil nuclear mainstream,” he said.

Ambassador Mulford said the “remarkable breakthrough” at the NSG was due to the vision and dedication of President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Today’s agreement on a waiver for India would strengthen global non-proliferation. It would also permit India to address its critical energy requirements and contribute importantly to protecting global environment, the US envoy added.



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