The governments of India and the U.S. have announced that they have completed negotiations on the controversial nuclear pact. UPDATE: See the full text of the agreement (22 pages; thanks to Raju Narisetti, editor of LiveMint.com for sharing this) - download nuke.pdf
U.S., India announce completion of nuclear deal
By Carol Giacomo and Y.P. Rajesh
Fri Jul 27, 9:51 AM ET
WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The United States and India said on Friday they have completed negotiations on a nuclear cooperation deal that would offer enormous benefits for both sides.
But neither country gave details of the long-delayed, controversial accord and acknowledged critical steps must be taken before it can be implemented.
The pact, approved by India's cabinet on Wednesday, would allow India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and equipment for the first time in 30 years, even though New Delhi refused to join non-proliferation pacts and tested nuclear weapons.
In a press briefing, U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns (who has made eight trips to India over the past two years for this) said, "In my view this is perhaps the single most important initative that India and the United States have agreed to in the 60 years of our relationship." See video of his 50-minute briefing below, along with the Q&A session. See full text of the session here.
Among the questions from the press:
As you said in the past, there's been a lot of divisiveness, and part of that was because the two sides interpreted the same provision and agreement differently. So is everything in this agreement so crystal clear that there is no ambiguity about it and that the Indian Government would endorse everything that you've said today as to how we should interpret it?
UPDATE: We received this very short and to-the-point note from the Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington think tank that does a lot of South Asia work:
At the very least, the Bush administration should not make it easier for New Delhi to resume nuclear testing and to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons.
It appears that the 123 Agreement fails to meet these minimal standards as well as the clear requirements established in the Hyde Act.
The Henry L. Stimson Center
More on the Stimson Center’s South Asia Project can be found at www.stimson.org/southasia
This morning, SAJAforum received a press release from the U.S. State Department. It's reproduced below.
As we get more announcements - perhaps from the Indian government as well as from folks who'd been opposed to the deal, we will post them here. Do check back. And post your comments below.
[State Department press release]
The United States and India have reached a historic milestone in
their strategic partnership by completing negotiations on the
bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation, also known as
the 123 Agreement.? This agreement will govern civil nuclear trade
between the two countries and open the door for American and Indian
firms to participate in each other's civil nuclear energy sector.
This agreement, about which the Administration briefed Congress
regularly, establishes the framework for full civil nuclear
cooperation between the United States and India.
Key features of the agreement are detailed in the State Department's
fact sheet, "U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative -
Bilateral Agreement on Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation" which may be
accessed at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/89552.htm?
We hope you find this information useful.
Annette Y. Aulton
Bureau of Public Affairs
U.S. Department of State
Post your comments below.