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Bush hails passage of Indo-US nuclear deal

Bush has hailed passage of nuclear deal and has said he was looking forward to signing the bill into law soon.

india Updated: Dec 10, 2006 00:07 IST

President George W Bush on Saturday hailed Congress's passage of a bill that will allow the US to provide civilian nuclear fuel and technology to India and said he was looking forward to signing the bill into law soon.

"I am pleased that our two countries will soon have increased opportunities to work together to meet our energy needs in a manner that does not increase air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, promotes clean development, supports non-proliferation and advances our trade interests," Bush said in a statement.

"I appreciate Congress's support for the US-India civil nuclear cooperation initiative. I look forward to signing this bill into law soon," Bush said.

The US Congress approved the nuclear cooperation deal with India early Saturday to allow US shipments of civilian nuclear fuel to India.

The Senate passed the bill following overwhelming endorsement late Friday in the House of Representatives.

The passage handed the White House a major victory at a time when the Bush administration's foreign policy is under fire on multiple fronts, and it was another signalling for concrete steps to counter China's growing influence in Asia, the New York Times said in a report on Saturday.

The nuclear agreement, which was negotiated in March by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, would lift a three-decade-old ban on nuclear sales to India put in place, in part, because of the country's refusal to sign the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, the report said.

The arrangement requires that the fuel shipments to be for civilian use only, yet opponents of the bill said the deliveries of nuclear fuel would free up India's domestic stocks of nuclear materials for its weapons programme, the report added.

First Published: Dec 09, 2006 23:17 IST