India-US n-trade awaits
some 'technical steps'
Oct 18 (IANS) The historic India-US civil nuclear deal may
be "done", but the US companies eyeing a $150 billion
business opportunity cannot start nuclear trade with India
before a couple of more "technical steps" are completed.
the US planning to send a nuclear trade mission to India in
December, Washington looks forward to completion of the required
"technical steps", Evan Feigenbaum, deputy assistant
secretary for South and Central Asian affairs, told an Indian
media round table Friday.
are two sets of certifications that President George W. Bush
has to make before the implementing 123 Agreement comes into
force and the two countries can resume nuclear trade banned
since India's first "peaceful nuclear explosion"
in May 1974.
expected the first set of presidential certifications under
the US approval law to come in the next week or 10 days. These
would certify: (1) that conclusion and implementation of the
agreement by its terms is consistent with US obligations under
the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT); and (2) that it
is the policy of the US to work with members of the Nuclear
Suppliers Group (NSG) to further restrict transfers of equipment
and technology related to uranium enrichment and reprocessing
of spent nuclear fuel.
the certifications, India and the US will exchange diplomatic
notes pursuant to Article 16(1) of the 123 Agreement, thereby
bringing the agreement into force.
the nuclear trade can begin only after the second set of certifications
under Sec 104 of the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation
Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act that Bush signed
into law Oct 8.
Sec 104 of the approval law, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
can issue licences for transfers of nuclear material and equipment
only after the president determines and certifies to Congress
The agreement between the government of India and the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the application of safeguards
to civilian nuclear facilities, as approved by the board of
governors of the IAEA on Aug 1, 2008, has entered into force;
The government of India has filed a declaration of facilities
pursuant to paragraph 13 of the safeguards agreement that
is not materially inconsistent with the facilities and schedule
described in paragraph 14 of the separation plan presented
in the national parliament of India on May 11, 2006, taking
into account the later initiation of safeguards than was anticipated
in the separation plan.
if all the steps would be completed before the US nuclear
trade team visited India, Feigenbaum would not put a timeframe
on the second set of certifications, but pointed out that
nuclear trade cannot begin until India signs the safeguards
that's true for nuclear trade, I believe, with anybody, not
just the United States," he added.
the signing of an additional protocol with respect to civilian
nuclear facilities by India as provided for by the July 18,
2005 joint statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and
President Bush is not a necessary pre-requisite.
US would like India to sign the additional protocol, but Sec
104 of the Hyde Act requires the US president to only make
a determination in his judgement that "India and the
IAEA are making substantial progress toward concluding an
Additional Protocol", Feigenbaum said.
how far Bush's signing statement was binding on the next administration,
he said the Congress had approved the 123 Agreement, and both
Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his Democratic
rival Barack Obama supported the nuclear deal, which had wide
bipartisan support in both Houses.
also wouldn't accept the suggestion that Bush's remarks regarding
US nuclear fuel supply assurances were at variance with the
submissions made by state department officials to the US Congress.
Nor would he comment on the controversy regarding whether
fuel assurances were "political commitments" or