Reprocessing deal with India reflects deep ties: US

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Applauding the successful conclusion of a nuclear fuel reprocessing agreement with India, the US has said this reflects a much broader, deeper and expanded relationship between the two countries.

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“I think it’s a reflection of the deepening of our relationship,” State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley told reporters Monday commenting on the completion of another step to implement the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal.

“We think that the 123 Agreement is in the interest of both the United States, India, and has broader impact as well,” he said noting that the implementing agreement “required some follow-up, some detail.”

“Obviously, we had to advise our Congress about it. Likewise, the Indian Government worked through the issues,” Crowley said. “So I think anytime that you not only reach an agreement, but then can see it begin to be enacted, that develops trust and confidence on both sides.”

“And I think this reflects a much broader, deeper, and expanded relationship between our two countries.”

Asked how the two sides got over the problem of suspension of reprocessing rights, a key Indian concern, Crowley said: “Other than brilliant diplomacy, I would not offer how we got over particular hurdles.

“I think we’re satisfied that the agreement is moving forward, but as to particulars, I’ll be happy to defer to others who know more than I do.”

Asked if the US would allow South Korea to reprocess spent nuclear fuel like India, Crowley said South Korea is a member of the nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, “which means they have rights and responsibilities under that treaty.

“As to particular plans that South Korea has on civilian nuclear energy, that’s up to them. But I don’t have any comment beyond that.”

Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher too has applauded the reprocessing accord saying the US was happy to see the implementing 123 agreement move forward.

“The United States and India have a very significant and prized relationship,” she said at a separate briefing on the new START Treaty with Russia and the Obama Administration’s Non-proliferation Agenda.

Asked how START would affect the India-US nuclear deal, she said: “We’re very happy to see that this agreement is moving forward, and the reprocessing agreement is one piece of a very large 123 agreement, and we’re happy to see that it’s moved forward. Well done.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected]).