Sunday, September 28, 2008

Indo-US nuke deal makes it through US House


Washington: The much debated nuke deal between US and India have been passed by the House of Representatives.

Deputy Clerk, House of Representatives Robert Reeves said that the bill is passed and the rules for the bill are suspended.

A majority voting of 298 to 117 in favour of the bill ended India's nuclear isolation. Hundred and seventy eight Republicans and 120 Democrats voted in favour of the deal.

At a gathering of Indian Americans in New York, Prime Minister Manmohan was effusive in his praise.

Singh said that India was on the verge of securing a new status in the global nuclear order after being liberated from the constraints of technology for 34 years.

The passage came in the early hours of Sunday when India was still asleep and in the last hours of the House session before it breaks for the November 4 presidential election.

Meanwhile, anti-deal lobbyists had mounted a final bid to derail it.

Influential Democratic leader Howard Berman has voted in favour of the bill. His turnaround favoured other Democrats.

Berman’s defection came after a phone call from US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

Even so the assurance from Rice that the US will work to ensure no reprocessing technologies for India at the November session of the nuclear suppliers group (NSG) was an indication of the measure of the opposition and hinted at trouble ahead.

The next hurdle for the deal remains with the Senate.

However, the passage from the Senate is expected to be less problematic as the bill has already cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

American President George W Bush in a written statement congratulated the House of Representatives for passing the deal and urged the Senate to quickly take up and pass "this important piece of legislation" before their October adjournment.

As for Prime Minister Singh, his eyes are on the next stop on the nuclear highway, the EU-India summit in Marseille followed by the bilateral nuclear deal with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.

(With inputs from Neenaz Ichaporia)

No comments: