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India should follow proper N-ways: US

Maintaining its opposition to Russia supplying uranium for Tarapur, US says India should follow 'proper sequencing'.

india Updated: Mar 21, 2006 15:05 IST

The US maintained its opposition to Russia's decision to supply uranium for the Tarapur atomic power plant.

The Bush administration has said the "proper way" was to wait for the US to change its laws to facilitate implementation of the historic Indo-US nuclear deal and the Nuclear Suppliers Group to change its practices.

"We think the proper sequencing would be that if India needs nuclear fuel for its reactors at Tarapur...The proper way to do this would be to have the US Congress act and hopefully change our laws, have the NSG, more particularly, act and change NSG practices, and then countries - US, France, Russia - would be free to engage, at that point, in civil nuclear trade with India," US Under Secretary of Political Affairs Nicholas Burns said on Thursday.

He was briefing reporters shortly after the administration introduced a bill in the US Congress seeking amendment to the Atomic Energy Act to help implement the nuclear cooperation deal with India.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov, who is on a visit to India, on Thursday said his country's decision to supply fuel to Tarapur was within "international framework".

"We are cooperating on this matter. We have served this issue within international framework and it does not contradict international commitments," he said.

Acknowledging India's energy needs, Burns said "India needs energy. For an economy growing at eight to nine per cent a year, a billion people in the country, a rapidly expanding infrastructure, they need energy".

Burns said the basis of the US-India agreement on civil nuclear technology was itself based on the need for energy.

However, he refused to clarify whether the Bush administration would oppose India's deal with Russia.

"I gave you the answer I wanted to give and that is that the proper sequencing would be the one that I laid out. And it's important that the international community have confidence that it's had a chance to voice its own opinion," Burns said.

"Of course, before you go too far ahead, we've made that clear to both governments," the senior US State Department official said adding that both Russia and India had been informed of its views.

"Yes, they did. Both of them did," Burns said when asked whether Washington had been told in advance of the deal.

Burns refused to elaborate when asked about the future of US-India relations in case the civilian nuclear accord between New Delhi and Washington was not approved by the US Congress.

"We are hopeful that the Congress will agree with the administration and I don't want to engage in any kind of hypothetical answer that would take us off that," he said.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 15:32 IST