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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.