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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

 

Secretary Rice to testify on the Hill

Secretary of State Dr. Condoleeza Rice will testify in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday at 9:30am, April 5th. Last week Young India organized a Congressional briefing on the Indo-US nuclear deal - Dr. Rice's testimony's focus.

Based on our briefing and research and understanding of the issue we feel the following must happen:

- The deal must be broadened to include a larger ENERGY INITIATIVE of which nuclear energy is A part. In parallel, the nuclear aspects of this initiative MUST carry clauses that envision a new nonproliferation regime that incorporates regional security.

- Unclassified Nuclear Nonproliferation Assessment statement. This document is crucial. I don't think it has been provided yet. We are equally committed to Indo-US relations and nonproliferation and disarmament. They are not mutually exclusive and the day they chart different courses all of us will be in trouble. This assessment statement must be closely studied.

In conclusion, Secretary Rice should be asked why is India so keen on this deal given that by all estimates energy gains from this deal are modest at best. And why is the US so keen on this deal that it is ready to weaken the nonproliferation regime? She should be probed to share why she feels that THIS deal should be the basis for Indo-US relations as opposed to an initiative that would truly address the energy question for both nations and move them towards energy independence. She should be urged to expand the scope of the deal. As we said at the briefing, the deal cannot fall through but at the same time cannot go through in its current form. I hope
the SFRC plays its crucial role to achieve the best relationship with India.

I hope the Secretary is reminded that India and the US are democracies where transparency is a pillar of our governing systems. All aspects of this deal must be made public to both the Indian and American citizenry so that they can fully participate in this debate. Clandestine passage of this deal in an amorphous form will weaken the democratic traditions of both nations and create a weak and unsustainable platform for a new friendship. Let's have a deal that both people's can gain from.

Peace.

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