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US lawmakers warn Bush on deal

world Updated: Oct 09, 2008 01:00 IST
V. Krishna

As President Bush signed the bill approving civilian nuclear cooperation with India into law on Wednesday, 10 lawmakers urged him not to negate administration commitments to Congress on fuel supply assurances to India and key provisions of the Hyde Act.

“We are writing to express our deep concern about reports that you plan to issue a signing statement ... that may alter previous administration commitments,” Ellen Tauscher of California and nine other House Democrats wrote in a letter Tuesday.

“We want to ensure that any public or private statements by the administration with regard to this matter remain consistent with US law. Otherwise, we will be compelled to consider legislation in the next Congress to further clarify congressional intent.”

The letter refers to a Washington Post report on Sunday that quoted a senior Indian official saying: “We would like President Bush to ... make a statement that alleviates our fears about fuel supplies.”

The letter says: “Those comments seem to indicate that the Indian government is seeking a repudiation of the commitments of your administration to Congress. It is paramount ... that the commitments ... be adhered to especially with regard to the termination of US trade to India in the event that India tests a nuclear explosive device.”

Bush’s signing statements that suggest he will ignore elements of the legislation have been criticised by many lawmakers, including Republicans.