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India closer to U.S. nuclear technology

Stephen Beard Nov 17, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: The president wasn’t able to take a Vietnamese trade deal with him to Hanoi. The House rejected a bill to normalize trade relations right before he left. Largely on procedural grounds, it should be said. But the Senate did give him a big win last night. It overwhelmingly passed a bill to let the U.S. share civilian nuclear technology with India. Miranda Kennedy has more from New Delhi.

MIRANDA KENNEDY: Big business has been lobbying hard for the bill. The defense industry stands to gain billions, because the bill acknowledges India’s nuclear weapons for the first time, though India first developed weapons in 1998.

The nuclear power industry also has plenty to gain. If the bill becomes law, India will be able to buy U.S. nuclear fuel, reactors and related technology for the first time. That will help India address its massive energy needs, says U.S. ambassador to India David Mulford.

DAVID MULFORD: It does represent the realization of President Bush’s vision to permit India to develop its civil nuclear industry, to help its economic growth and its emergence as a major world power.

The bill could become law before the Senate reconvenes in January. Dozens of companies have already lined up. Next month, the government is leading the largest-ever U.S. trade mission to India.

In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.

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