December 20, 2005

Congressmen seek to oppose India nuclear deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. lawmakers have proposed a
resolution expressing congressional disapproval for President
George W. Bush's sweeping nuclear agreement with India, one of
the congressmen said on Tuesday.

If the resolution passed, it would signal lawmakers'
"disapproval" of the July 18 deal, which has generated strong
opposition from non-proliferation advocates because it would
give India access to previously banned technology.

"The administration's move to launch nuclear cooperation
with India has grave security implications for South Asia and
the entire world," said Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of
Massachusetts, who introduced the resolution with Republican
Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan last week.

Markey, co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force on
Non-proliferation, and Upton are members of the House Energy
and Commerce Committee.

"Supplying nuclear fuel to countries that are not party to
the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty derails the delicate
balance that has been established between nuclear nations and
limits our capacity to insist that other nations continue to
follow that important non-proliferation policy," he said.

"We cannot break the nuclear rules established in the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and demand that everyone else
play by them," he added in a statement.

For 25 years, the United States led the global fight to
deny India access to nuclear technology because it rejected the
treaty, developed nuclear weapons and tested them.

But Bush, aiming to improve ties with the world's largest
democracy, jettisoned this approach in the July 18 agreement
which would permit civilian U.S.-India nuclear cooperation.

Bush wants changes in U.S. law -- which would have to be
approved by Congress -- and international regulations -- which
would have to be agreed by the 44-nation Nuclear Suppliers'
Group -- to let India obtain the restricted items, including
nuclear fuel. Bush has yet to say exactly what changes he would

The Markey-Upton resolution says the deal "poses
far-reaching and potentially adverse implications" for U.S.
non-proliferation objectives and will do little to bring India
into closer alignment with U.S. strategic objectives.

Just when the resolution might be acted on is unclear.
Congress is supposed to adjourn soon for a monthlong recess.

India conducted nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998. Markey said
Bush's approach will signal to other nations that "there are no
serious consequences for violating nuclear treaties."

Senior U.S. and Indian officials are to discuss the deal in
Washington on Wednesday.