India Intelligence Report

Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Deal in US Congress


The Indo-US civilian nuclear deal called The India Civilian Nuclear Bill is being introduced in the US Congress and Senate with voting scheduled in April or early May. The Bush Administration is pulling out all stops to socialize, cajole, and sell the deal to policy makers. Several India-friendly policy makers are expected to co-sponsor the bill once it has been introduced. However, passage may not be easy as there is a strong coalition consisting of Pakistan and China lobbies, political extremists in the Congress, and nuclear Ayatollahs opposing this deal claiming that this will dilute nuclear non-proliferation efforts. Paradoxically, Pakistan and China are the largest nuclear proliferators and the coalition of non-proliferation Ayatollahs has ignored their proliferation. 


However, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns says that he is “gratified that considerable numbers of Senators and Congressmen have spoken out in favor” of the deal even though he anticipates “vigorous debate” before the vote. 

The Bill seeks to amend US Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that prohibits sale, transfer, or export of nuclear material or equipment to countries that have non-safeguarded facilities and exploded a nuclear device after March 10, 1978. However, the Bill also says that the deal will be off if the “President determines that India has detonated a nuclear explosive device after the enacted of this act.”

Notwithstanding this deal, Australia has confirmed that it will not sell nuclear fuel to India, as it has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Australia has 40% of the world’s uranium reserves.