Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice travels today to India to commemorate approval of a landmark U.S.-India nuclear cooperation accord, a foreign affairs victory for President Bush during his final months in office.
The Senate voted 86-13 Wednesday to overturn a three-decade ban on atomic trade with India, giving congressional approval to a pact that lets U.S. businesses begin selling nuclear fuel, technology and reactors to India in exchange for safeguards and U.N. inspections at India's civilian, but not military, nuclear plants.
Spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters at the State Department that Rice will be in India through Sunday and will meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders.
The deal, which the House approved last week, marks a shift in U.S. policy toward nuclear-armed India after decades of mutual wariness.
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Bush said it “will strengthen our global nuclear nonproliferation efforts, protect the environment, create jobs and assist India in meeting its growing energy needs in a responsible manner.”
Rice said it “reflects the transformation of our relations and a recognition of India's emergence on the global stage.”
In India, the governing Congress party spokesman Veerappa Moily called the deal “a monumental achievement.”