- Title: USA / FILE: Senate approves nuclear deal with India
- Date: 2nd October 2008
- Summary: (BN12) POKHRAN, INDIA (FILE) (REUTERS) SITE OF INDIAN NUCLEAR TEST
- Embargoed: 17th October 2008 13:00
- Topics: International Relations,Energy
- Reuters ID: LVAC1O42H6VHS3BF0FET0WSB9FRP
- Story Text: The U.S. government approved a landmark deal ending the three-decade ban on U.S. nuclear trade with India, handing a victory to President George W.
Bush on one of his top foreign policy priorities.
Final approval came as the Senate voted to ratify the deal, 86-13, sending the legislation to Bush to sign into law.
The Senate's move came just ahead of an expected trip to India this weekend by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The Bush administration says the pact will secure a strategic partnership with the world's largest democracy, help India meet its rising energy demand and open up a market worth billions.
"This is really a major step in improving US/India relations and removing the obstacles over the nuclear issue which had really clouded the relationship over the past few decades and prevented it from really taking off in the way that it can. I think this is a historic day for US India relations and certainly a victory for the Bush Administration," said Linda Curtis of the Heritage Foundation.
Critics, however, say the deal does grave damage to global efforts to contain the spread of nuclear weapons, by letting India import nuclear fuel and technology even though it has tested nuclear weapons and never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Rice spent much of the past month in an all-out effort to persuade Congress to approve the pact, which the Bush administration says will transform the U.S.-India relationship. Bush wanted the deal approved before leaving office in January.
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