`Indo-US N-trade unlikely unless India signs CSC`

American companies are unlikely to indulge in nuclear trade with India unless New Delhi becomes a party to an international convention on supplementary compensation.

Last Updated: Oct 05, 2010, 09:14 AM IST

Washington: American companies, that had
played a key role in the passage of the Indo-US civilian
nuclear deal, are unlikely to indulge in nuclear trade with
India unless New Delhi becomes a party to an international
convention on supplementary compensation for nuclear damage, a
Congressional report has said.

"US firms will likely be very reluctant to engage in
nuclear trade with India if the government does not adhere to
the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear
Damage (CSC), which has not yet entered into force," said the
independent Congressional Research Service (CRS) in its latest
report to the Congress on the implementation of the civilian
nuclear issue.
CRS is the bipartisan research wing of the US Congress
which prepares periodic report on various issues for American
lawmakers. The report was sent to lawmakers on September 28.
National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon who was in
Washington last week had announced that India will sign CSC.

The CRS informed Congressmen that US companies have
not yet started nuclear trade with India.

"New Delhi had reportedly insisted that India and the
United States conclude an agreement on a reprocessing facility
in India before New Delhi would sign contracts with US nuclear
firms," it said.

"However, the countries announced March 29 that they
had concluded the agreement. The Administration submitted the
subsequent arrangement to Congress May 11. The proposed
arrangement shall not take effect if Congress adopts a joint
resolution of disapproval," the report said.

The CRS report said the administration has
characterised civil nuclear cooperation with India as a "win"
for nonproliferation because it would bring India into the
"nonproliferation mainstream".

In short, the Administration is proposing that India
should be courted as an ally in US nonproliferation policy,
rather than continue as a target of US nonproliferation
policy.

According to this reasoning, India should become an
ally for three reasons: past policies have not worked; India
has a relatively good nonproliferation record; and India could
be a useful ally in the nonproliferation regime.

At the same time, it said some observers are concerned
that India may not support US nonproliferation policies
sufficiently to warrant nuclear cooperation, particularly
where the US faces its greatest nuclear proliferation threat -
Iran.

For example, at the September 8 House International
Relations Committee hearing, several Members of Congress
questioned whether the US had obtained assurances from India
of its support on Iran before it issued the July 18 joint
statement.

"Two factors may present challenges to Indian support
for US policies toward Iran. First, India has a growing
strategic relationship with Iran, not limited to its interest
in a proposed USD 7.4 billion, 2800-km-long gas pipeline
between Iran, Pakistan, and India.

Second, India has a strong tradition of foreign policy
independence, as a long-time leader of the Non-Aligned
Movement (NAM) states and as a vigorous opponent of the
discriminatory nature of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,"
the report said.

India and the US signed the landmark civilian deal in
2008 but some outstanding issues are holding up the
implementation of the deal.

PTI