Tags: Row | Erupts | India | Over | Nuclear | Agreement

Row Erupts in India Over Nuclear Agreement

Friday, 17 August 2007 12:00 AM

Just three weeks after the U.S. and Indian governments announced that months of negotiations on a historic nuclear energy cooperation agreement had resulted in a deal, a raging debate has erupted in India over its right to carry out future nuclear weapons tests.

The agreement, which allows cooperation between the two nations' civil (not military) nuclear sectors, allows the U.S. to provide nuclear fuel for India's energy program. The deal has been hailed as a significant strategic move in strengthening U.S. ties with the ascendant Asian democracy.

In a new report urging members of the U.S. Congress to support the agreement with India, scholars at the conservative Heritage Foundation predicted that it would "greatly strengthen the U.S. strategic position in Asia by solidifying a partnership with a 1-billion-strong, economically booming democracy bordering another and less predictable rising power: China."

But the agreement has critics on both sides. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose government has been under fire from left-wing and nationalist rivals over the agreement, told lawmakers in Delhi earlier this week that the deal would not restrict India's strategic autonomy, as many allege.

"The agreement does not affect India's right to undertake future nuclear tests, if it is necessary in country's national interest," he said.

But that's not how Washington reads the deal, the State Department said: "The proposed 123 agreement (named for the relevant section of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954) has provisions in it that, in an event of a nuclear test by India, then all nuclear cooperation is terminated," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters after a regular briefing on Tuesday.

The comment, widely reported in India, caused an uproar in parliament, with lawmakers accusing Singh of having "misled" the chamber and demanding that he explain himself.

On Thursday, Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee reiterated Delhi's position: "There is nothing in the bilateral agreement that the government has entered with the U.S. that will tie the hands of a future government to undertake a nuclear test."

McCormack on Thursday acknowledged that India was a sovereignty country, but indicated that the U.S. would consider a nuclear test a bad idea.

"We are not testing, and I don't think you see advanced nuclear countries around the world testing," he said. "And certainly, we don't encourage other states to do that."

McCormack added that the agreement "provides the president options in acting in the event that there is a test."

The text of the agreement, released by the State Department on August 3, makes no specific mention of nuclear weapons tests.

One article, however, says the agreement "shall be implemented in a manner so as not to hinder or otherwise interfere with any other activities involving the use of nuclear material, non-nuclear material, equipment, components, information or technology and military nuclear facilities produced, acquired or developed by them independent of this agreement for their own purposes."

The agreement also gives either country the right to terminate the agreement by giving one year's notice and by providing reasons for the decision.

The U.S. and India are then required to hold consultations to address the issue, and to "take into account whether the circumstances that may lead to termination or cessation resulted from a party's serious concern about a changed security environment or as a response to similar actions by other states which could impact national security."

In the event of the agreement being terminated, the U.S. and India each have the right to require the other to return any nuclear material, equipment or components transferred under the agreement.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
Just three weeks after the U.S. and Indian governments announced that months of negotiations on a historic nuclear energy cooperation agreement had resulted in a deal, a raging debate has erupted in India over its right to carry out future nuclear weapons tests. The...
Row,Erupts,India,Over,Nuclear,Agreement
593
2007-00-17
Friday, 17 August 2007 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved