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US asks India to separate civilian, military N-programmes

Source: PTI
October 27, 2005 20:09 IST
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The Bush administration made it clear on Thursday that before any agreement on the nuclear deal with India is presented to Capitol Hill, New Delhi 'needs to take several steps, including the separation of their civilian and military nuclear programmes'.

This was stated by State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, while responding to an observation by the Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Henry Hyde. Hyde complained, during a hearing, that Indian officials knew more about the United States-India nuclear proposal than members of Congress.

The spokesman noted that the consultation process with Capitol Hill has not actually started. "If any agreement does, in fact, go forward, it would require action by the Congress. But before we actually present any agreement to Congress, India needs to take several steps, including the separation of their civilian and military nuclear programmes, so these are pre-conditions for us actually presenting this agreement to the Congress," he said.

"We are convinced that this is a good agreement for the United States, a good agreement for India and the world, if India does take certain steps," McCormack remarked.

He added that there was going to be a period of 'intensive consultations' in the coming months and that Under Secretary of State, Nicholas Burns, has made it very clear in his discussions with government of India officials, as well as in public comments, that some initial consultations have begun.

"We are not at the point of presenting an agreement to Congress for them to make decisions about. We are going to be working with the Indian government on this matter, but it will first require some action on their part," McCormack said.

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