Accessibility links

Bush Sends US-India Nuclear Deal to Congress

U.S. President George Bush has sent the text of a proposed U.S.-India nuclear agreement to Congress for approval.

The White House issued a statement Thursday saying the agreement is a priority for Mr. Bush, and that he is looking forward to working with Congress to ensure its passage.

This landmark civilian nuclear deal offers India access to U.S. technology and atomic materials, in exchange for international inspections of some of its nuclear facilities.

Mr. Bush says the agreement provides a framework for peaceful nuclear cooperation with India, and will reinforce what he calls the "growing bilateral relationship" between the two nations.

India also announced Thursday that it is negotiating agreements to buy nuclear technology and facilities from other countries such as France and Russia. But India's foreign ministry said the deals will be signed only after the U.S. and India agreement is approved by the U.S. Congress.

The Bush administration is trying to push the U.S.-India nuclear deal through Congress before lawmakers adjourn in late September, ahead of the November presidential elections.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been appealing to top members of Congress to discuss the agreement. Rice also held talks on the deal Wednesday with India's defense minister, A.K. Antony.

Last week, the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which governs legal trade of nuclear materials around the world, ended a 34-year embargo on India.

Austria, New Zealand and Ireland were the last three countries withholding approval. They had reservations about granting a waiver to India because it has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.