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'US Congress could make useful amendments to Indo-US deal'

By Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington, DC
June 06, 2006 10:13 IST
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The United States Congress could bring in some "useful amendments" while approving the India-US nuclear deal, including an insistence on India working out safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency, a Stanford academic and nuclear proliferation expert has said.

Failure to get the legislation through the US Congress would not cripple India's civilian nuclear programme but will reduce it to a certain extent, said Scott Sagan, director of Stanford University's Centre for International Security and Cooperation.

He, however, cautioned those calling for amendments and conditions to the civilian nuclear agreement saying that pushing "too far" will damage what has been worked out.

Addressing a seminar in Washington, DC on Monday Sagan pointed out that there are both costs and benefits in the agreement.
The non-proliferation costs "are real but could be reduced if India lives up to its commitments" and the non-proliferation benefits are likewise "real and should be pursued", he said.

The India-US Nuclear Agreement

In the realm of proliferation costs, Sagan noted that the nuclear agreement was "precedent setting" and others such as China or Pakistan could insist on similar deals.

There are also a few constraints on the Indian arsenal's growth and the issue of "responsibility has been self-designed", he said.

Pointing out the deal's manifold benefits, Sagan said it would lead to intelligence sharing, improved nuclear safety and security, cooperation in Proliferation Security Initiative and India becoming an even more responsible nuclear power.

Listing some of the amendments that could be brought in by the US Congress, Sagan said President George W Bush may have to certify to Congress on an annual basis that India is on the path of eventual elimination of nuclear weapons and is in full compliance with International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards and the
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Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington, DC
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