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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: A final version of a Congressional nuclear bill for India should be unveiled this week. It would allow U.S. companies to sell civilian nuclear technology to that country for the first time. The measure would also formally acknowledge India as a nuclear state. President Bush says he’ll sign it, but now India seems to be getting cold feet about some concessions in the bill. Miranda Kennedy has details from New Delhi.
MIRANDA KENNEDY: The Indian government is especially uneasy about accepting terms of the bill that would require it to help the U.S. confront Iran’s nuclear program.
So today U.S. officials are frantically lobbying New Delhi to accept the final version. Tomorrow, representatives of the U.S. nuclear industry will entice India into accepting the deal so they can do business here.
Trade Undersecretary Frank Lavin says the nuclear agreement is crucial.
FRANK LAVIN: I think we’re right to be wary of something until its at the final stage of completion. So we’re going the extra mile to try to build a relationship.
That relationship means billions of dollars to U.S. nuclear companies. Energy-hungry India hasn’t been able to scale up its nuclear power plants because it doesn’t have access to fuel.
Today, the U.S. firm W.M. Mining said it agreed to sell India 500 tons of uranium a year, but only if the bill becomes law.
In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.
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