During his visit to India, President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached an understanding on India’s proposed separation of its civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs, one aspect of the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.
This initiative commits the United States to working with the US. Congress and with the Nuclear Suppliers Group, or N-S-G, to end India’s nuclear isolation. In effect, it would allow the U.S. and other N-S-G members to provide technology and fuel for India's civilian nuclear energy industry.
India needs nuclear energy to help meet a rapidly growing demand for electricity. Under the initiative, India will identify and separate its civilian and military facilities and programs, and, for the civil sector, will negotiate a safeguards agreement and an additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
India will also develop an export control system and undertake other nonproliferation measures to help prevent the spread of nuclear-and missile-related material, equipment, or technology. These include a commitment to refrain from transferring any enrichment or reprocessing technologies to countries that do not already have them and maintain its unilateral moratorium on the testing of nuclear weapons. Speaking about the separation plan, Prime Minister Singh said:
"A separation plan which separates the civilian nuclear program from the military program. That phase has been successfully completed. We'll also have to go to the International Atomic Energy Agency for India-specific safeguards."
For civil nuclear trade and commerce to become a reality, a bilateral Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation must be negotiated with India and approved by the U.S. Congress. President Bush says the civil nuclear cooperation initiative is one "that will help both our peoples":
"Proliferation is certainly a concern and a part of our discussions, and we've got a good faith gesture by the Indian government that I'll be able to take to the Congress. . . . The other thing that our Congress has got to understand [is] that it's in our economic interests that India have a civilian nuclear power industry to help take the pressure off of the global demand for energy."
The U.S. has "an ambitious agenda with India. We'll work together in practical ways," says Mr. Bush, "to promote a hopeful future for citizens in both our nations."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.