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BOB MOON: It’s decision time on legislation that would allow U.S. companies to sell nuclear fuel and equipment to energy-hungry India. House and Senate negotiators plan to unveil the reconciled versions of the Indian nuclear bill today. The House is scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow and hopes to finalize a law before Congress adjourns for the year. But, as Miranda Kennedy reports, the Indian government has been threatening not to accept the final version.
MIRANDA KENNEDY: U.S. officials and lobbyists have been busy persuading India to accept the final version of a bill which would allow U.S. companies to share civilian nuclear fuel and technology.
But India is concerned the law will force it to support the U.S. if it confronts Iran over its nuclear program.
India is also worried the bill will place restrictions on its plutonium program, which can be used to make both bombs and energy. Worried enough that India’s prime minister called Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist last night.
Ron Somers is the lead U.S. lobbyist for the Indian nuclear agreement.
RON SOMERS: It would clearly have an impact on the opportunity for both Indian industry and for U.S. industry.
Yesterday, high level Indian officials told Somers that U.S. business needs to lobby lawmakers to make the bill acceptable to India. If that doesn’t happen, they told him, the U.S.-India relationship will suffer a blow, and so will U.S. business in India.
In New Delhi, I’m Miranda Kennedy for Marketplace.
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