September 28, 2008

U.S. House Passes India Nuke Agreement

The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a measure allowing the export of nuclear power technology to India.

As part of the deal to allow it to import nuclear materials for civilian electricity generation, India says it will refrain from testing nuclear weapons, CNN reported.

The provision was a key component in a bill passed Saturday by a 298-117 margin and sets the stage for high-level nuclear cooperation between the two countries as India seeks to greatly expand its civilian nuclear power program, lawmakers said.

Under the measure, which was strongly backed by U.S. President George Bush, India will allow international inspections of its non-military nuclear facilities. The compromise will allow New Delhi to proceed with an unprecedented push to supply more parts of India with electricity in projects that will mean billions of dollars in revenue for U.S. suppliers.

Bush called the House vote "a major step forward in achieving the transformation of the U.S.-India relationship" while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said it "furthers our countries' strategic relationship while balancing nuclear non-proliferation concerns and India's growing energy needs," CNN reported.