By Arun Kumar, IANS
Washington : The US says the India-US agreement to implement their civil nuclear deal is “respectful” to the July 2005 and March 2006 joint statements of their leaders as also “consistent” with its own law.
A Fact Sheet released here Friday by the US State department said the agreement governing civil nuclear trade between the two countries will open the door for American and Indian firms to participate in each other’s civil nuclear energy sector.
The Bush administration, it said has briefed US Congress regularly on the 123 agreement finalised here last week after a four days of hard negotiations between the two countries.
Key features of the agreement, as listed by the Department of State:
— Confirms the desire of both countries to engage in full civil nuclear cooperation, including research and development; nuclear safety; and commercial trade in nuclear reactors, technology, and fuel;
— Affirms the fuel supply assurances made to India by President George Bush on March 2, 2006, including creating the necessary conditions to allow India access to the international fuel market, and by supporting the creation of an Indian strategic fuel reserve;
— Grants consent to India for certain nuclear fuel cycle activities. In particular, grants consent to reprocessing, with such right being brought into effect by India establishing a new national facility under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards dedicated to reprocessing safeguarded nuclear material, and the two countries agreeing on arrangements and procedures under which reprocessing will take place;
— Commits India to appropriate safeguards on all civil nuclear material and equipment subject to the agreement and to assuring that nuclear items subject to the agreement will be used only for peaceful purposes, including through a reaffirmation of India’s commitments to safeguards in perpetuity;
— Reinforces the commitment of both countries to global non-proliferation efforts;
— Preserves the rights of both countries to terminate cooperation and request the return of transferred items under appropriate circumstances; and
— Creates the legal basis for the United States to be a stable, reliable, and predictable supplier for India’s civil nuclear energy market.
The conclusion of negotiations on the 123 agreement opens the door for the completion of the remaining steps in the broader US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative. These steps include:
— Conclusion of a safeguards agreement between India and the International Atomic Energy Agency applicable to India’s separated civil nuclear sector and progress toward an Additional Protocol;
— Achievement of a consensus decision in the Nuclear Suppliers Group to make an India-specific exception to the full-scope safeguards requirement of the Group’s export guidelines; and
— Approval of the 123 Agreement by the US Congress.
Civil nuclear cooperation between the United States and India will offer benefits to both of countries’ citizens through enhanced energy security, a more environmentally-friendly energy source, greater economic opportunities, and more robust non-proliferation efforts, the state department said.