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Bush signs Indo-US nuclear bill into law

President Bush signing the Indo-US nuclear deal on Wednesday in the East Room of White House

WASHINGTON (BNS): US President George W Bush on Wednesday signed into law domestic legislation to implement the landmark Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

Within moments of the signing ceremony, US State Department spokesman announced that India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would formally sign the bilateral nuclear cooperation accord on Friday afternoon.

At the signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Bush said there were no changes in the fuel supply commitments made to India under the 123 Agreement, and India also enjoys “advanced consent” for reprocessing the spent fuel.

“This legislation does not change the fuel assurance commitments that the US Government has made to the Government of India as recorded in the 123 Agreement,” Bush said.

Welcoming the gathering to the signing ceremony, Bush said, “Today, I have the honor of signing legislation that builds on the growing ties between the world's two largest democracies, India and the United States.” The legislation “will enhance our cooperation in using nuclear energy to power our economies; it will help us work together even more closely to reduce the danger of nuclear proliferation across the world,” he said.

The signing of House Resolution 7081 was attended by among others Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, several members of the Congress and Indian ambassador to the US Ronen Sen.

In his speech, interrupted several times by loud applause from the gathering, Bush said, “By undertaking new cooperation on civil nuclear energy, India will be able to count on a reliable fuel supply for its civilian reactors.” Bush said the “agreement also grants India advance consent to reprocessing, which will be brought into effect upon the conclusion of arrangements and procedures for a dedicated reprocessing facility under IAEA safeguards.”

The HR 7081, United States- India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act, reverses “34 years of US policy to eventually allow American businesses to have a share of India's 100 billion dollar nuclear pie,” Bush said.

Bush said, “Our agreement will also strengthen global non-proliferation efforts. India has committed to operate its civil nuclear energy programme under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency and other international guidelines. India will continue to build on its strong record of responsibility in operating its nuclear facilities. And India and the United States will cooperate more closely to keep the world's most dangerous weapons out of the hands of extremists and terrorists.”

The President said the agreement sends a signal to the world: “Nations that follow the path to democracy and responsible behavior will find a friend in the United States of America.”

Bush said, “One energy source that can generate large amounts of electricity with zero emissions of air pollution or greenhouse gases is nuclear power. So three years ago, Prime Minister Singh -- who I consider a dear friend -- and I resolved to work together on a landmark agreement paving the way for our nations to cooperate on nuclear power. By undertaking new cooperation on civil nuclear energy, India will be able to count on a reliable fuel supply for its civilian reactors, meet the energy demands of its people, and reduce its independence (sic) on fossil fuels.”

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