It's for US administration to push nuke deal: India
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It's for US administration to push nuke deal: India

India today made it clear that the onus of getting the civil nuclear deal passed in the US Congress lies on the Bush administration.

india Updated: May 12, 2006 20:41 IST

India on Friday underlined the principle of "reciprocal understandings" in implementation of the civil nuclear deal with the US and said it was up to the US administration to push "appropriate legislation" through the Congress.

"We have been looking closely at how this agreement goes in the US Congress," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna told reporters in New Delhi.

He said this in reply to a question on Democrat Tom Lantos' remarks on the nuclear deal laying out certain conditions that New Delhi must meet before the Congress takes up the nuclear legislation.

New Delhi tactfully refused to be drawn into the ongoing domestic debate on Capitol Hill about the civil nuclear deal and underlined the twin basis for the bilateral legislation being negotiated between the two sides -- the centrality of the July 18 joint statement and the separation plan presented by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to parliament in March.

"It is for the US administration to ensure the passage of appropriate legislation in the US Congress to enable civil nuclear energy cooperation with India on the basis of the reciprocal understandings contained in the India-US Joint Statement of July 18, 2005 and the separation plan presented to Indian Parliament on March 7," Sarna said.

In a surprise development on Thursday, Lantos, the senior most Democrat on the powerful House International Relations Committee, announced in Washington his compromise legislative proposal that is seen by many as a bid to scuttle the nuclear deal.

Lantos said he would introduce legislation that would delay Congressional action pending the conclusion of India-US negotiations on the civil nuclear agreement and India's pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the issue of safeguards.

India and the US are already working on finalising the draft of a bilateral civil nuclear agreement, which will be presented to the US Congress and the talks are on between New Delhi and the IAEA on the issue of "India-specific safeguards".

An Indian team led by Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar visited Vienna last month for talks with top IAEA officials.

Manmohan Singh has described these discussions as "fruitful and productive" and unveiled a detailed separation plan to parliament on Thursday identifying specific thermal power reactors to be placed under "India-specific safeguards" with the IAEA between 2006 and 2014.

The "full and complete text of India's separation plan" also lists the individual facilities within the Nuclear Fuel Complex (NFC), Hyderabad, which will be offered for safeguards by 2008.

According to the complete separation plan as tabled in parliament, the 14 reactors to be safeguarded include TAPS 1 and 2 at Tarapur, RAPS 1 and 2 at Rawatbhata and Kudankulam 1 and 2 (all by 2006); RAPS 5 (by 2007); RAPS 6 (by 2008); RAPS 3 and 4 (by 2010); KAPS 1 and 2 at Kakrapar (by 2012); and NAPS 1 and 2 at Narora (by 2014).

The first six are already safeguarded or committed to safeguards. RAPS 5 and 6 are under construction while the rest are currently operational and will run un-safeguarded till the date specified.

The fast breeder reactors, currently operational and under construction, will remain outside the purview of the IAEA inspections.

First Published: May 12, 2006 20:41 IST