Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) has sent a letter to US President George W Bush warning that a potential nuclear cooperation agreement with India may flout US law.
Signed by 22 other members of Congress, that letter reiterates that any inconsistencies between the so-called 123 agreement, US law and the underlying intent and purpose of the Hyde Act will put final congressional approval for the deal in doubt. Congress passed the Henry Hyde US-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006 less than a year ago, setting minimum conditions that must be met for nuclear cooperation with India, as well as the non-negotiable restrictions on such cooperation.
Among the conditions are that nuclear cooperation shall be terminated, and the US would have the right to demand the return of all material, equipment, and technology, if India again tests a nuclear explosive. Current law also states that the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards applied to declared Indian materials and facilities must be “in perpetuity in accordance with IAEA standards, principles, and practices.”
The members wrote “to underscore the necessity of abiding by the legal boundaries set by Congress” for nuclear cooperation, and to again warn that India’s growing economic and military ties to Iran could imperil congressional approval of the nuclear deal.
Before any nuclear cooperation can commence, Congress must pass final approval of the deal, India must negotiate a permanent and unconditional safeguards agreement with the IAEA, and the US must obtain consensus agreement from the 45 members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to change their guidelines to allow transfers to India.
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