The 123 Agreement “I certainly hope to get it through because it’s also a big step for the US-India relationship.” Condoleeza Rice


India will wait for US Cong”


Seeking to allay US’ fears, India said it will wait for American Congress’ approval of the 123 agreement before entering into bilateral agreements with other supplier countries. “…The approval by the Board of Governors of the IAEA for the India-specific safeguards agreement and the NSG waiver are the passports to enter into international nuclear trade,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on the sidelines of a function here.

“As far as the procedure is concerned, now we shall have to wait for the ratification of the 123 agreement between India and the US,” he said. Mukherjee’s comment came soon after US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice asked India not to “disadvantage” Americans companies should the 123 agreement not get through the current Congress.

“We have talked to the Indian government about not disadvantaging American companies and I think they recognize and appreciate American leadership on this issue. But obviously, the best thing would be to get it through Congress,” she said. The remarks indicate fears in Washington that after getting the nod from Nuclear Suppliers Group, India might sign bilateral agreements with other countries like Russia and France for which negotiations have been completed with these countries.

Mukherjee said India will “actually enter” into the trade with supplying countries through bilateral agreements. “After the ratification of the US Congress this process will begin,” the minister added. He said the US Congress requires two documents — the India-specific safeguards agreement approved by the Board of Governors of the IAEA and amendment to NSG guidelines by providing waiver to India after which they can ratify the 123 agreement. India would be able to enter bilateral agreements with other countries after these procedures are completed, Mukherjee said.

Terming the waiver granted to India by the 45-member NSG as a “huge step” in bilateral ties, Rice complimented the role played by the Indian government in the effort. “The congressional calendar is short, but the main thing is the international work is now done. I certainly hope to get it through because it’s also a big step for the US-India relationship,” Rice told reporters travelling with her in Algiers, capital of Algeria.

See also:

“Bush works overtime to get 123 before September 26”

Antony on U.S. visit amid growing strategic ties”

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