Controversial US-India Nuclear Deal Now Law

More than three years after the blueprint was outlined in a Indo-US joint statement in Washington, the nuclear deal got its final legal sanctity today when US President George W Bush signed the 123 agreement into law and made it clear that US will fulfill all its fuel assurance commitments in the agreement. He also specified that the agreement recognises India’s right to reprocess spent fuel.External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will formally ink the deal tomorrow.  

In an effort to address any doubts in India over the contents of the legislation he was signing and concerns that it had deviated from what the two countries had negotiated, Bush recorded in his signing statement, which is a reflection of how the US President interprets a particular law for further implementation and has its own sanctity, that Washington will meet all its obligations in the 123 agreement.



“This legislation is important as it enables me to bring the 123 agreement into force and to accept on behalf of the United States the obligations contained in the agreement,” he stated.India had raised certain concerns in the Bill passed by the US Congress. These related to certain aspects in the introductory section of the Bill, where it was specified that India’s safeguarded fuel reserve should be “commensurate with reasonable reactor requirements”.  

This was contrary to the 123 agreement where US had agreed to let India store lifetime supplies of fuel for its reactors. Indian officials pointed out this inconsistency during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recently concluded visit to Washington. Bush had assured Singh that Washington would ensure that what is finally signed is to New Delhi’s satisfaction.

So, in his signing statement, the US President stated: “In addition, the legislation does not change the fuel assurance commitments that the US Government has made to the Government of India, as recorded in the 123 agreement.”

via Indian Express in Mumbai : Bush signs India pro-nukes deal into law



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