President Bush today called for giving India the same access to benefits of nuclear technology as other responsible nuclear states.
Calling it 'responsible state with advanced nuclear technology,' and appreicatig India's strong commitment to preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and as a Bush said 'India should acquire the same benefits and advantages as other such states.'
This effectively clears the way for the transfer of civilian nuclear reactors to India to meet its acute energy needs as it grows exponentially as an emerging economic power.
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According to the US-India Joint Statment released about five hours after the meeting between the two leaders, Bush has assured Prime Minister Singh that he 'will work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India as it realizes its goals of promoting nuclear power and achieving energy security.'
It noted that the President would 'also seek from Congress to adjust US laws and policies' and that the United States would 'work with friends and allies to adjust international regimes to enably full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India, including but not limited to expeditious considerations of fuel supplies for safeguarded nuclear reactors at Tarapur.'
The statement pointed out that in the meantime, 'The United States will encourage its partners to also consider this request expeditiously.'
It said that as a quid pro quo, the Prime Minister had agreed that India 'would be ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices and acquire the same benefits and advantages as other leading countries with advanced nuclear technology, such as the United States.'
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These responsibilities and practices consist of identifying and separating civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs in a phased manner and filing a declaration regarding its civilian facilities with the International Atomic Energy Agency; taking a decision to place voluntarily its civilian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards; signing and adhering to an Additional Protocol with respect to civilian nuclear facilities; continuing India's unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing.'
The statement said it also included working with the US for the conclusion of a "multilateral Fissile Material Cut Off Treaty; refraining from transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to state that do not have them and supporting international efforts to limit their spread; and ensuring that the necessary steps have been take to secure nuclear materials and technology through comprehensive export control legislation and through harmonization and adherence to Missile Control Technology Regime and Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines."
The statement said that President Bush had welcomed the Prime Minister's assurance and that the two leaders 'agreed to establish a working group to undertake on a phased basis in the months ahead the necessary actions mentioned to fulfill these commitments.'
The President and Prime Minister also agreed that they would review this progress when the President visits India in 2006,' it added.
The statement also noted that the two leaders 'reiterated their commitment that their countries would play a leading role in international efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological weapons.'
This US acquiescence to transfer civilian nuclear technology and assist India with its energy requirements is unequivocally the most tangible deliverable in terms of the Prime Minister's visit and is also a de factor acknowledgement of India as a full-fledged nuclear power, even while not naming it as such.
Earlier, during the joint press availability, the Prime Minister, when reminded of New Delhi efforts to seek the removal restrictions of nuclear and high technology supplies to India and asked for such prospects after his meeting with President Bush, hinted at what was coming, saying, 'I think we have had a very constructive and productive meeting, and as you will see from the joint statement, this issue has been addressed in a manner which gives me great satisfaction.'
In this regard, he thanked Bush 'for his personal role and interest in facilitating a solution to this complex problem.'