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Senate takes up bill to enforce Indo-US N-deal

Meanwhile, Senator Richard Lugar warns colleagues he will oppose any attempts to delay or impose additional conditions on the pact.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 23:20 IST

The Senate on Thursday took up a bill to implement the Indo-US civil nuclear deal with influential Senator Richard Lugar warning colleagues he would oppose any attempts to delay or impose additional conditions on the agreement.

Lugar, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the house would not advance US national security interests by impeding the passage of the bill.

"We should not hold up the significant non- proliferation gains afforded by this initiative in order to seek a fissile material cap that India has indicated it will not consider in the absence of similar commitments by Pakistan and China," he said, making the first presentation in support of the legislation.

During the course of the day, senators are expected to debate the finer aspects of the agreement, including 18 amendments to the bill known as the United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act S 3709. It is expected that many amendments will be settled through a voice vote.

A similar bill to implement the deal was passed by the House of Representatives on July 26.

Senior Democrats like Senator John Kerry are confident the Senate will reject "killer amendments" seen as derailing the whole accord as they would be unacceptable to India.

Lugar, who is managing the bill on the floor, urged his colleagues to approve the legislation, stressing that it is "an opportunity to build a vital strategic partnership" with India, a country that not only shares America's democratic values but one that will exert increasing influence on the world stage.

First Published: Nov 16, 2006 23:20 IST