US think-tank warns against hasty steps
A leading think-tank has advised Nuclear Suppliers Group and the American Congress not to make a hasty decision on the Indo-US nuclear deal, given the "dangerous" ramifications of the agreement for non-proliferation efforts.
"India and the Bush administration have played fast and loose in negotiating this agreement, disregarding the clear conditions that Congress had stipulated," Leonor Tomero, Director of Nuclear Non-Proliferation at the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, said in a statement.
"Given the discrepancies between the provisions that Congress insists on before completing the deal and the agreement that the administration negotiated with India, it is incumbent upon Congress and the Nuclear Suppliers Group to give the agreement careful consideration and to not allow themselves to be rushed into a hasty decision," he said.
The IAEA Board of Governors is expected to meet on July 28 to consider the safeguards agreement, after which the NSG members will be asked to exempt India from rules barring nuclear trade with those states that do not accept full-scope safeguards agreements on all of their nuclear facilities.
"These are not trivial issues," said John Isaacs, Executive Director of the Centre.
"This exemption would tie the hands of the next administration and greatly compromise US and international efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and materials," he added.
The Centre has said that the Nuclear Suppliers Group may meet in September and that it is expected that at least two sessions will be needed to come to agreement. Once these two steps have been completed, the US Congress will be free to vote on the final Indo-US 123 agreement. Time is running out, however, as the US Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the year on September 26," the Centre has said.