Bush, Singh affirm US-India nuclear deal commitment


Staff member
Bush, Singh affirm US-India nuclear deal commitment

Published: July 09, 2008, 09:33

Toyako: President Bush defended a languishing deal his administration negotiated to sell India nuclear fuel and technology, saying he reassured India's prime minister that the pact was important for both countries despite heavy opposition on both sides.

Bush's meeting on Wednesday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was one of a series of one-and-one sessions the president scheduled on the final day of the three-day G-8 summit of economic powers.

‘I respect the prime minister a lot,’ Bush said, speaking with reporters after their meeting. ‘I also respect India a lot. And I think it's very important that the United States continues to work with our friend to develop not only a new strategic relationship, but a relationship that addresses some of the world's problems. We talked about the India-US nuclear deal - how important that is for our respective countries.’

Singh said, ‘In this increasingly interdependent world that we live in, whether it the question of climate change or whether it is a question of managing the global economy, India and the United States must stand tall, must stand shoulder to shoulder.’
If ratified by Washington and New Delhi, the pact would reverse three decades of US policy by allowing the sale of atomic fuel and technology to India, which has not signed international nonproliferation accords but has tested nuclear weapons. In return, India, would open its civilian reactors to international inspections.

US critics worry the agreement could spark a nuclear arms race in Asia and weaken international efforts to prevent states like Iran and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons.
In India, critics say it would undermine India's weapons program and give Washington too much influence over Indian foreign policy.
Singh's communist allies withdrew their support for his four-year-old coalition government on Tuesday to protest the government's plan to push forward with the nuclear deal.
Bush is trying to prod Congress to approve the pact before time runs out on his administration in January.
Before returning home late in the day, Bush was also meeting separately with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Chinese President Hu Jintao and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
Many South Koreans have protested the recent resumption of US beef imports. Both China and South Korea are important players in the international effort to get North Korea to scale back its nuclear weapons program.