Congressmen fear US gave in to India
US lawmakers have warned the Bush administration of "inconsistencies" in the 123 agreement after reports that Washington has agreed to allow India to reprocess spent nuclear fuel under the bilateral civilian nuclear deal with New Delhi. The warning came after the agreement between the US and India was finalised in extended talks in Washington last week.
In a letter to President George W Bush, as many as 23 Congressmen, led by Democrat Edward Merkey, expressed concern that perhaps Washington may have "capitulated" to India's demands. The Congress passed the Hyde Act less than a year ago, settling minimum conditions that must be met for nuclear cooperation with India, as well as the non-negotiable restrictions on such cooperation, Merky said. Stating that these conditions and restrictions were not optional or advisory, he warned: "If the 123 agreement has been intentionally negotiated to side-step the law and the will of Congress, final approval for this deal will be jeopardised."
In the letter, the lawmakers stressed "the necessity of abiding by the legal boundaries set by Congress". They said: "The agreement is subject to the approval of Congress, and any inconsistencies between the agreement and relevant US laws will call congressional approval deeply into doubt," they said.
The Bush administration has to get Congressional approval on the bilateral deal before any nuclear cooperation can commence.