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Jewish panel backs Indo-US nuclear deal
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington, DC | May 16, 2006 09:46 IST
Throwing its weight behind the Indo-US civil nuclear energy agreement, the American Jewish Committee has urged the US Congress to approve enabling legislation currently pending on Capitol Hill.
The committee said that the proposed agreement is a pragmatic and forward-looking response to the strategic requirements of both nations and one that recognised the nuclear capabilities of India, a vibrant democracy, while preserving the essence of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is a bulwark of peace and stability in the post-War world."
The benefit of the nuclear energy deal is 'strategic' and in America's interest, the AJC said in letters to the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar, its Ranking Democrat Joseph Biden, Chair of the House International Relations Committee Henry Hyde, Ranking Democrat Tom Lantos and to all members of the US Congress.
"The AJC strongly supports the proposed US-India civil nuclear energy agreement and urges approval of the enabling legislation," it said.
The committee noted that with a population of more than one billion and an expanding economy, India offers the US a 'stable, democratic partner in Asia, as well as significant trade and investment opportunities'.
"The US-India nuclear agreement will advance this growing relationship, and is profoundly in America's national interest,' the AJC said.
'After almost 50 years of misunderstanding, India and the US are on a path of rapidly increasing cooperation that includes counter-terrorism and regional security efforts, and touches on many sectors political, commercial, scientific and educational,' it added.
The Committee said that the nuclear deal had the potential to lessen India's reliance on fossil fuels and meet the country's growing energy needs.
'Enhancements in India's civil nuclear power capabilities made possible by this agreement can be expected to lessen the country's historic reliance on Middle East fossil fuels to meet accelerating energy needs and offsetting electric generation from indigenous high-sulphur coal, may yield long-term environmental benefits as well," it said.
'Our confidence in pluralistic and democratic India, in the Administration's care in crafting this agreement, and in the natural alliance between India and the US, underlies our support for this timely and prudent step forward in US-India relations,' the AJC added.