Bush, Manmohan create history, seal nuclear deal
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Bush, Manmohan create history, seal nuclear deal

The accord will represent a major shift in policy for the US. Highlights | Pics

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 18:36 IST

US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday announced their countries had reached agreement on a landmark nuclear deal.

"We concluded an historic agreement today on nuclear power," Bush said during a joint press conference.

Under the accord, the United States would share American nuclear know-how and fuel with India to help power its fast-growing economy, even though India won't sign the international non-proliferation treaty.

It would represent a major shift in policy for the United States, which imposed temporary sanctions on India in 1998 after it conducted nuclear tests, and came after last minute haggling about how to separate India's tightly entwined civilian and nuclear programmes.

Bush's South Asia sojourn

March 1: In Afghanistan

Surprise visit

On Osama

March 1: In India

Kalam's banquet

Nuclear deal

Visit to Rajghat

Ceremonial reception

Red carpet welcome

"We have reached an understanding on the implementation of our agreement on civil nuclear cooperation," Singh said. "I have conveyed to the President that India has finalised the identification of civilian facilities to which we had committed."

Negotiations on the deal went down to the wire, with details being hammered out even after Bush had arrived in New Delhi. "It's not an easy job for the Prime Minister to achieve this agreement," Bush said. "I understand. It's not easy for the American President to achieve this agreement."

Bush, mindful of opposition among some in the US Congress to such a deal, called it "a necessary agreement." "It's one that will help both our peoples," he said. "Again, I applaud you for your courage and your leadership."

Terms of thedeal

After hard bargaining on the nuclear deal with the US, India agreed that 14 of its civilian nuclear reactors will be open to international safeguards while fast breeder programme will not be subject to outside inspection.

High-level official sources said after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush that India has made it clear that classification of nuclear reactors to be built in the future will be its sole decision and there would be no debate on it.

Details of the separation plan as also the assurances given by the US under the deal will be outlined by the Prime Minister in Parliament soon, the sources said.

They said the separation of India's 22 nuclear reactors will be undertaken in a phased manner and completed by 2014.

During the negotiations, India insisted on removal of ambiguities to ensure that whatever nuclear reactors were built in the future, did not come to be questioned.

The sources also said that India had no problem with having permanent safeguards on its civilian nuclear reactors but wanted perpetuity of supplies considering that there has been unreliability in this regard in the past.

They cited the case of Tarapur plant to which the US has not supplied fuel arguing that it required change of American laws.

The deal is an exception to India only, they said, adding the agreement was a "win-win" situation for both New Delhi and Washington.

Referring to the India-specific safeguards to be worked out with IAEA, about which the Prime Minister spoke, the sources said that it stemmed from the fact that India's case was unique and the safeguards should be such that are applicable to a non-military nuclear power country.

They explained that though India was a "de-facto" nuclear military power, it was not recognised as such by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime.

Agreement on economic, scientific cooperation

The two countries have set a three-year target to double their trade.

A joint commission on science and technology, more cooperation in cyber security and collaboration in agricultural research and the development of low-cost drugs to fight AIDS and bird flu were among the agreements reached during talks between Bush and Manmohan.

On India's bid for UNSC seat

Bush sidestepped a question on why Washington was not supporting India's bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat, saying he first favoured reform of the world body.

"We're open-minded and we're listening. But what we don't want to do is have a Security Council reform measure that causes the other reforms not to go forward," he said.

"We support United Nations Security Council reform, and we're interested in different ways to reform the United Nations Security Council. My concern all along, however, is that if we only stick to the United Nations Security Council reform, we miss an opportunity to reform the United Nations overall," Bush asserted.

"And so our position is, let's make sure reform overall moves forward, as we think about the best way to reform the Security Council," he added.

Noting that the UN "is a very important international body", he said it was one that required "better accountability and -- accountability on how we spend money and accountability on getting results.

"One such area, for example, is the Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission needs to be reformed in a way that actually is able to achieve significant results on behalf of the world," Bush asserted.

Bush not terrorised by blasts in Pak

Later in the week, Bush is heading to Pakistan where on Thursday two bombs ripped through the parking lot of the Marriott Hotel in Karachi, exploding windows in the nearby US consulate. Bush said the victims included at least one US citizen, a foreign service officer he did not identify by name.

First Published: Mar 02, 2006 00:23 IST