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Bush to sign N-deal into law on Dec 18

The bill, which was approved by the US Congress on Saturday, will finally be a law, ending India's nuclear apartheid.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2006 13:41 IST

President George W Bush will sign into law on Monday the civil nuclear cooperation deal that allows the United States to sell nuclear technology to India, the White House said.

Congress gave the final approval on Saturday to the legislation which the Bush Administration and its allies say will expand ties with the world's largest democracy and open up billions of dollars in trade for US companies.

Critics say the legislation, which helps clear the way for India to buy US nuclear reactors and fuel, will undermine efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.

But congressional sponsors said the legislation included some restraints, such as requiring the president to stop US exports of nuclear materials if India tested another nuclear device as it did in 1998.

India said it views the nuclear cooperation deal as a big step forward but it was wary of conditions attached to it by Congress.

"The government has taken note of certain extraneous and prescriptive provisions in the legislation," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Parliament on Tuesday.

The deal reversed 30 years of US policy that had opposed nuclear cooperation with India because the country developed nuclear weapons in contravention of international standards and never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

First Published: Dec 13, 2006 08:56 IST