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United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act--Continued

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UNITED STATES-INDIA NUCLEAR COOPERATION APPROVAL AND NONPROLIFERATION ENHANCEMENT ACT--Continued -- (Senate - October 01, 2008)

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Mr. WARNER. Mr. President, I understand there is an order that the distinguished Senator from Iowa will be recognized next. But I asked him graciously, would he give me a minute to speak in support of the United States-India nuclear cooperation agreement. I strongly endorse this agreement because as one of those who advocate greater nuclear power in our Nation, the industrial base of India will work with our industrial base at this time when we need to increase the number of plants we have in our Nation.

The United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act will provide congressional approval of the agreement reached between the United States and India that will pave the way for bilateral cooperation in civilian nuclear energy. This agreement resulted from years of diplomatic negotiations. I note that my dear friend, Ambassador Nick Burns, helped lay the foundation for this agreement during his tenure as Under Secretary of State for Policy.

As I publicly stated when this agreement was first announced in March 2006, it is important that as we move to implement this historic arrangement with India, we preserve two equally important objectives: a strengthened strategic partnership with India that includes mutually beneficial cooperation in civilian nuclear energy; and preservation of the nuclear nonproliferation regime to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons and related technologies. I believe the bill ably crafted by Senators Biden and Lugar seeks to advance both of those objectives.

As part of this agreement, India has agreed to separate its civilian nuclear fuel cycle from its military program, and to place the civilian program under full safeguards to be monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. This arrangement is intended to ensure that cooperation in civil nuclear energy will not assist India's nuclear weapons program in any way. India has also agreed to maintain its moratorium on nuclear testing, work toward a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, and strengthen its domestic nuclear export control laws. The bill providing congressional approval for the agreement makes clear that in the event India were to test a nuclear weapon in the future, cooperation under this agreement would be terminated.

Facilitating India's development of civilian nuclear energy will make an important contribution to a cause I value highly: reducing the emission of greenhouse gasses into the environment. As nations such as India grow and have increasing requirements for energy, it is imperative for the health of our global environment that they turn increasingly to clean sources of energy such as nuclear power.

I am also hopeful that this agreement will open the door to United States-India trade and investment in nuclear energy, and lead to new business opportunities for American firms with expertise in civilian nuclear power. Today, the United States is looking to expand its production of civilian nuclear power; to do so with the participation of the industrial base of India should help to expand the safe and economical production of civilian nuclear energy in both countries.

Mr. President, I support Senate approval of the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement because I believe it will advance the United States-India strategic partnership, promote a clean energy source to meet India's growing demand for energy, open the door to new business opportunities for the U.S. nuclear energy sector, and still promote and preserve important nonproliferation practices and principles which remain in the interest of the United States and indeed the international community.

I thank the Presiding Officer and my colleagues.

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