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.
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.
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