India will not sign the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States till President George W. Bush puts his signature on an enabling Bill passed by the Senate on Thursday into law.
A senior South Block official told Hindustan Times on Friday night that just because US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was coming to India did not mean that the 123 Agreement would be signed on Saturday.
Legal formalities had to be first completed by Washington, he said.
“It is their business, when the Bill is signed into law, not ours,” the official responded when asked about President Bush signing the US-India Nuclear Cooperation and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act passed by the Senate on Thursday morning.
Another official, who preferred anonymity, said President Bush had assured PM Manmohan Singh during their recent meeting in Washington that he would issue a statement while signing the Bill taking care of Indian concerns on reliability of fuel supplies.
Obviously, India is waiting for the text of Bush’s statement on the issue. Bush had earlier told US Congress that nuclear fuel supply commitments contained in the 123 were political and not legal in nature.
Also, New Delhi is reportedly irritated by Rice’s statement on the eve of the Senate vote to the effect that cooperation in the atomic sphere would come to a standstill if India conducted another nuclear test.