MARKEY, TAUSCHER DEMAND INDIA END GROWING DEFENSE RELATIONSHIP WITH IRAN
As the Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon arrived in Washington for negotiations on the stalled Agreement for Nuclear Cooperation, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) today wrote President Bush expressing deep concern over the recent indictment of Indian nationals for conspiracy with Indian government officials to undermine U.S. export control laws. The lawmakers' letter expressed concern with India's deepening defense ties with Iran, such as their recently established Joint Defense Working Group, and asked President Bush to urge India to halt all defense contact and cooperation with Iran.
Rep. Markey said, "At the same time that we've found India has been systematically undermining U.S. export control law to acquire sensitive missile-related technology, we also find out that they've formed a Joint Defense Working Group with Iran. Individually, these Indian actions should give us pause, taken together they call into question the logic upon which the nuclear deal was originally based."
Foreign Secretary. Menon is in Washington for another round of negotiations over the technical agreements necessary to implement the proposed civilian trade of nuclear materials and technologies to India. Those negotiations have reportedly stalled due to India's insistence that New Delhi be allowed to conduct nuclear weapons tests in the future and be given prior consent to reprocess U.S.-origin materials, both actions explicitly banned under U.S. law.
"We gave India a sweetheart deal with the nuclear agreement, and blew a hole in our nonproliferation laws in the process. Now India is saying, That's not good enough, we want more.' It's time for the Administration to find its spine and say enough is enough," Rep. Markey concluded.
The letter states, "We would like to request that you urge India to immediately cease military-to-military contact and cooperation with Iran. As you are aware, such behavior endangers the positive U.S.-India relationship. Furthermore, in light of the recent indictment, there exists a significant potential for controlled U.S.-origin materials and technologies to come under Iranian control as a result of defense cooperation with India.
Unless and until you can certify that India has ended its defense relationship with Iran, we will oppose licenses for the export of missile-related or peaceful space-related items and technologies to India. We must also inform you that continuation of an Indo-Iranian defense relationship is likely to imperil all prospects for future civil nuclear cooperation with India."