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US, India Announce Agreement on Nuclear Power

  • Paula Wolfson

India and the United States have reached final agreement on a landmark nuclear energy cooperation deal. Where the announcement came after talks between President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The first official word of the deal came from the Indian prime minister.
"I am particularly pleased that we have reached an understanding on the implementation of our agreement on civil nuclear cooperation of July 18, 2005."

Negotiations were still going on when Mr. Bush arrived in New Delhi late Wednesday. Speaking at a joint news conference, the American leader emphasized the issues involved were complex and difficult for both sides. He called the deal "historic."

"It was not an easy job for the prime minister to achieve this agreement. I understand. It is not easy for the American president to achieve this agreement. But it is a necessary agreement."

Under terms of the deal, which must still be approved by the legislatures of both countries, the United States will provide India with technology and fuel for its nuclear power plants. In return, India will open those facilities to international inspection.

In order to finalize the agreement, the Indian government had to devise a difficult formula to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs.

But the separation plan may not be enough to appease critics in the U.S. Congress. They say the deal rewards a country that has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and conducted nuclear weapons tests as recently as 1998.

Mr. Bush says the critics have to realize that times have changed, and so has the U.S.-Indian relationship.

"Short term history shows that the United States and India were divided. We didn't have much of a relationship. And as a result there are laws on the books that reflect that. Now the relationship is changing dramatically. People in the United States have got to understand that trade with India is in our interests."

While President Bush was meeting with Prime Minister Singh, word reached New Delhi of a terrorist bombing in Karachi, Pakistan. Mr. Bush condemned the action, but vowed to continue his South Asia tour and travel on from India to Islamabad.

"Terrorists and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan.


Before he goes to Pakistan, the president is scheduled to address the Indian people Friday evening from New Delhi. White House officials say it will be the major speech of the trip.

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