Indo-US nuke deal will strengthen security: Rice
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Indo-US nuke deal will strengthen security: Rice

The deal gives India access to civilian nuclear technology in return for placing most of its reactors under international inspection.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 12:22 IST

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rica on Monday urged Congress to amend atomic energy law in order to implement a nuclear agreement, which President George W Bush signed with India during his recent visit there.

The deal, signed earlier this month, gives India access to long-denied civilian nuclear technology in return for placing most of its nuclear reactors under international inspection.

It must be cleared by the US Congress before it can be implemented.

The Bush administration has proposed to Congress that an India-specific amendment be made to the US Atomic Energy Act, which currently prohibits nuclear sales to states, which are not signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

India has refused to sign the NPT and has developed nuclear weapons.

The deal, however, was met with sharp criticism in Congress. Democratic Representative Edward Markey, co-chairman of the Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation, said the agreement undercuts the very foundation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

But Rice, writing in The Washington Postnewspaper, called the agreement "historic."

"This agreement is a strategic achievement," she said. "It will strengthen international security. It will enhance energy security and environmental protection. It will foster economic and technological development."

The secretary of state insisted the deal will also "help transform the partnership between the world's oldest and the world's largest democracy."

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 12:22 IST