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Nuclear Supplier Nations Approve Landmark US-India Deal བོད་སྐད།

Nuclear supplier nations have approved a landmark U.S.-backed deal that lifts a 34-year ban on nuclear trade with India.

Members of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which governs global nuclear trade, made the decision Saturday after three days of contentious talks in Vienna.

Austria, New Zealand, and Ireland, were the last three countries holding out on approval due to reservations about granting a waiver to India since it has not signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Austrian government said it lifted objections after Indian officials reassured the group that India remained committed to a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing.

In a phone call Saturday, U.S. President George Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh congratulated each other, and called the deal an historic achievement. A White House spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, said the agreement strengthens global nonproliferation principals while assisting India to meet its energy needs in an environmentally friendly manner.

India's ruling Congress party also welcomed the "momentous" decision.

In a statement Saturday, Prime Minister Singh said the approval marks the end of India's decades long isolation from the nuclear mainstream and of the technology denial regime.

The U.S.-India nuclear deal must now be approved by the U.S. Congress before it becomes law. U.S. lawmakers must act before adjourning in late September, ahead of U.S. presidential elections in November.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.