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US House vote on N-deal postponed

world Updated: Sep 27, 2008 14:44 IST
House of Representatives postpones voting on Indo-US nuke deal

The US House of Representatives on Saturay postponed the formal vote on the approval legislation for the US-India civilian nuclear agreement following a 40-minute debate.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman a known opponent of the deal, supported the Senate version of the Bill saying the deal is a positive step as it will bring India into the non-proliferation regime.

Fellow Democrat Edward Markey, who lead the charge on behalf of those opposed to the Bill, insisted on a recorded vote at the end of the debate following which the voting was postponed and it is now expected to be taken up on Sunday.

"I'm a strong advocate of closer US-India ties, including peaceful nuclear cooperation. I voted for the Hyde act which established a framework for such cooperation. The bill before us today will approve the US-India agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation," Burman said.

"Integrating India into a global nonproliferation regime is a positive step," he said, adding Bush Administration has assured him they will push for an NSG decision prohibiting the export of enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technologies to states that are not party to Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Fellow Democratic Ellen Tauscher, however, disagreed maintaining that the Bill flies in the face of decades of American leadership to contain the spread of the weapons of mass destruction.

"The India deal would give a country with a dismal record of nonproliferation all the benefits of nuclear trade with none of the responsibilities. India has been denied access to the market for three decades and for good reason. India is not a signatory of the nonproliferation treaty and has not agreed to disarmament or signed the treaty," Congresswoman Tauscher said.