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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

India will be guided solely by terms of Indo-US N-deal

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Sept 4, IRNA
India has unequivocally said that it will be guided solely by the terms of bilateral agreement between India and the US on the nuclear deal after the American letter reportedly says it has given no fuel supply assurances post testing.

Earlier New Delhi on Wednesday refused to comment over the American position that it will stop fuel supplies if it conducted a nuclear test as reflected in the document made public in the US after being kept under wraps.

But the Government's response came after US State Department's detailed response on the country's position regarding the civil nuclear deal with India.

According to official media website report, in controversial disclosures on the eve of the meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the US has made it clear that it will stop fuel supplies and other nuclear cooperation if India conducts a nuclear test.

The US position, which appears at variance with New Delhi's interpretation of some key clauses of the Indo-US nuclear deal, was made public just before the two-day meeting of the 45-nation NSG in Vienna which will consider a waiver that will enable India do nuclear commerce.

The stoppage of nuclear cooperation in certain circumstances if India conducts an atomic test figures in the 123 bilateral agreement but impression so far has been that the US would ensure uninterrupted fuel supplies from other countries.

However, a 26-page document released by a well-known opponent of the deal, Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, contains an assertion by the Bush Administration that its assurances of nuclear supplies to India are not meant to insulate it against the consequences of a nuclear test.

Berman made public the State Department's responses to 45 questions on the deal posed by his predecessor Tom Lantos way back in October last year.

The answers were given on 16th January but for nearly nine months the document was kept under wraps at the request of the State Department.

Meanwhile, the US on Wednesday down played the disclosures made in the US State Department document which triggered a controversy in New Delhi and said there was nothing new in it which has not been shared with India or the US Congress.

"This letter contains no new conditions and there is no data in this letter which has not already been shared in an open and transparent way with members of the Congress and with the Government of India," US Ambassador David C. Mulford said in a statement on Wednesday.

PM Manmohan Singh deliberated on the issue with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and National Security Adviser M K Narayanan in the context of the crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in Vienna starting today. He reportedly called the US Ambassador to India, David Mulford, and enquired about the steps US was taking for the NSG waiver.

The letter's contents are contradictory to what the Manmohan Singh led government has been insisting upon- that India's testing of nuclear weapons will not come in way of uninterrupted supply of nuclear fuel under the nuclear deal.

To this effect, in August 2007, the PM had told Parliament, "The agreement does not in any way affect India's right to undertake future nuclear tests, if it is necessary."

The NSG waiver for India is not appearing a smooth ride as a few nations - Austria, New Zealand, Netherlands, Ireland- had objected to the amended draft. Even China had on Tuesday voiced concerns and its Foreign Ministry had said in a statement that the NSG must "strike a balance between nuclear nonproliferation and peaceful use of energy".

While the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) have been quick to slam the revelations, the government has distanced itself from the controversy saying none of clauses in the 123 treaty are binding on India

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