News

    US, India Nuclear Deal Poised for Approval by House of Representatives, Senate

    Multimedia

    Audio

    A civilian nuclear deal between the United States and India, the subject of controversy since proposed by President Bush in 2005, is poised for final approval in the U.S House of Representatives.  VOA's Dan Robinson reports, opponents in and outside of Congress made last minute efforts to block it, while supporters said approval could not wait until a new U.S. president takes office.

    With the Bush administration pressing for action before Congress adjourns, the House debated a version of the legislation approved this past week by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    The agreement was the subject of long and intense negotiations between the White House and Congress, in particular Democratic Representative Howard Berman who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

    During debate on the measure late Friday, he discussed what he called a personal commitment made to him by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. "That in a change in policy, the U.S will make its highest priority at the November meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the achievement of a decision by all of the nuclear suppliers to prohibit the export of enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technology to states that are not members of the treaty on nonproliferation," he said.

    President Bush had hoped to win congressional approval before India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came to the White House this past week.

    The president referred to it as he welcomed the Indian leader, calling the agreement one sign of a good strong strategic relationship. "This has taken a lot of work on both our parts, a lot of courage on your part.  And of course we want the agreement to satisfy you and to get it out of our Congress so we are working hard to get it passed as quickly as possible," he said.

    Opponents say the agreement will undermine nonproliferation efforts and make it more difficult to dissuade other countries not to develop nuclear weapons.

    "Approval of this agreement undermines our efforts to dissuade countries like Iran and North Korea from developing nuclear weapons.  By approving this agreement, all we are doing is creating incentives for other countries to withdraw from the nuclear nonproliferation treaty," said Barbara Lee, a California Democrat.

    Democrat Edward Markey said it fails to meet even minimal nonproliferation conditions Congress has required, and poses unacceptable risks to U.S. security and the nuclear nonproliferation regime. "By breaking the rules for India, we are making it less likely that the rules will hold against Iran or anyone else.  Iran is looking at this deal for India and they're saying "where can I sign up?"

    Since conducting its first nuclear weapons test in 1974, India has refused to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, something critics say should happen before India gets full access to global nuclear trade.

    Supporters say the agreement recognizes what they call India's responsible handling of its nuclear program, helps nonproliferation by subjecting more than half of India's 22 reactors to monitoring, and assists India's development of a clean energy infrastructure.

    "The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) will be able to inspect two thirds of India's civlian nuclear facilities, because those facilities will be under IAEA safeguards and all future civliian nuclear facilities will also be under safeguards," said New York Democrat Gary Ackerman.

    Last week, opponents made last minute efforts to persuade lawmakers not to vote for the agreement.  At a briefing in the U.S. Capitol, Daryl Kimball, who heads the Arms Control Association, called it flawed.

    "It does not clearly resolve the inconsistency between the 123 agreement that was initialed last August 2007 and the Henry Hyde Act which established the terms and conditions under which the U.S. can engage in nuclear trade," he said.

    The description of the U.S-India accord as a 123 agreement refers to a section of the 1954 U.S. Atomic Energy Act.  The U.S. has some two dozen such 123 agreements with various countries.

    Ambassador Robert Grey, a former U.S. representative to the Conference on Disarmament, urges lawmakers to take more time to review the agreement.

    "This is a bad deal that we are getting into here in terms of nonproliferation.  We created the nonproliferation regime, we got it through the international community. We supported it consistently over successive administrations, both Republican and Democrat. Now we have reversed course.  We are opening a hole with this agreement with India that you could drive a truck through," he said.

    A decision by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, which sets rules for international nuclear trade, lifting a prohibition on India's access to global nuclear trade paved the way for congressional approval.

    "That NSG decision represents the will of the international community to make the rules conform to the realities of India's energy situation," Republican Ed Royce.

    The House of Representatives will take a final recorded vote on the U.S. - India agreement on Saturday.  If approved as expected, it would go to the U.S. Senate where supporters expect it to win bipartisan approval.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora