N-deal: Was India misled? Left, BJP say YES; US says NO
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In curiously-timed disclosures, the US has made it clear that its assurances of nuclear fuel supplies to India are not meant to 'insulate' it against the consequences of a nuclear test.
A day ahead of the meeting of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG) in Vienna where the fate of the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal is expected to be decided, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman has released State Department's answers to 45 questions on the deal which indicate clearly differing perceptions on key issues between New Delhi and Washington.
The questions were submitted to the State Department by Berman's predecessor Tom Lantos way back in October, 2007 and answers were sent on January 16, 2008. For nine months, these documents were kept under wraps and have been made public just before the Vienna meeting.
The answers were considered 'so sensitive, particularly because the debate over the agreement in India could have toppled the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the State Department requested they remain secret even though they were not classified,' according to Washington Post which quoted a spokesman for Berman as saying he had made the answers public because the US Congress must have 'relevant information'.
Berman recently wrote a letter to the US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in which he threatened that the deal will be blocked in the US Congress if the Bush administration does not incorporate additional conditionalities in any NSG waiver to India.
In its responses, the State Department has said that as outlined in the 123 Agreement, should India detonate a nuclear explosive device, the US has the right to cease all nuclear cooperation with it immediately, including the supply of fuel.
It also stipulates that US can request India to return items transferred from it including fresh fuel. In addition, the US has the right to terminate the agreement on one year's written notice.
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