Calling the India-US civil nuclear agreement "a big deal", President George W. Bush has said the historic agreement will help India meet its energy demands while giving the US access to a growing market for nuclear technologies and materials.
Describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a "dear friend", Bush said they had resolved to work together on the landmark accord three years ago as nuclear power can generate large amounts of electricity with zero emissions of air pollution or greenhouse gases.
"I appreciate the supporters of the US-India Nuclear Civil Agreement that are here today," he said signing the US enabling law here Wednesday to reopen nuclear trade between the two countries and generate an estimated $150 billion in business. "All in all, welcome. This is a - it's a big deal."
"Even though the United States and India are separated by half the globe, we are natural partners as we head into the 21st century, said Bush."Both our nations emerged from a colonial past to establish vibrant democracies."
The two countries had welcomed investment and private enterprise to become leaders in the global economy, had stood against the dangers posed by extremists, and "demonstrated that we cherish liberty, honour human dignity, and respect the rule of law," he said.
"Despite these common interests and values, it was not long ago that relations between the United States and India were strained," said Bush. "In recent years, we've worked to transform our relationship into a strong strategic partnership."
Noting that cooperation in energy offered tremendous potential to meet the needs of their growing economies have grown, Bush said nuclear power can generate large amounts of electricity that is safe and clean and secure.
"So three years ago, Prime Minister Singh - who I consider a dear friend - and I resolved to work together on a landmark agreement paving the way for our nations to cooperate on nuclear power," he said.
"By undertaking new cooperation on civil nuclear energy, India will be able to count on a reliable fuel supply for its civilian reactors, meet the energy demands of its people, and reduce its dependence on fossil fuels," Bush said.
"For our part, the United States will gain access to a growing market for civilian nuclear technologies and materials, that will help American businesses create more jobs for our people here at home," he said.
The agreement will also strengthen global non-proliferation efforts, Bush said noting that "India has committed to operate its civil nuclear energy programme under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international guidelines."
"India will continue to build on its strong record of responsibility in operating its nuclear facilities," he said. "And India and the United States will cooperate more closely to keep the world's most dangerous weapons out of the hands of extremists and terrorists."
"I have the honour of signing legislation that builds on the growing ties between the world's two largest democracies, India and the United States," said Bush who looks at the India deal as a major foreign policy achievement of his administration.