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Conference Report On H.R. 5682, Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006

Location: Washington, DC



Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank my chairman for his leadership and for his time.

Mr. Speaker, as an original cosponsor of this legislation, Mr. Speaker, and as cochair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, I rise in support of H.R. 5682, the Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006. I would like to thank Chairman Hyde, as well as Ranking Member Lantos, for their dedicated work on this issue and for their willingness to work with me and so many members of our House International Relations Committee, as well as the House as a whole, to ensure that the conference report before us tonight achieves the difficult balance of expanding cooperation with our democratic ally, India, while also promoting U.S. global nonproliferation policy.

Because the conference report closely tracks the bill which was passed overwhelmingly by the House in July, I need not list its specific provisions, other than to say that it preserves the central features of the House text, such as ensuring that Congress retains its traditional role in approving nuclear cooperation agreements.

Also in reinforcing the indispensable role of the nuclear suppliers' club in preventing proliferation and encouraging India's cooperation in stopping Iran's efforts to develop their nuclear weapons capability. It has been significantly strengthened by the inclusion of many important sections from the companion legislation approved by the Senate.

Let me address the larger and more important context in which this legislation should be viewed. By providing the legal foundation for civilian nuclear cooperation between the United States and India, it achieves a key step of the global partnership with India that was announced on July 18 of last year by President Bush and Prime Minister Singh. This far-sighted and historic initiative is a long-delayed recognition that the two largest democracies share an extraordinary array of common interests and that a closer and increasingly cooperative relationship between them holds enormous potential to promote the strategic partnerships and interests of both. If allowed to grow, it will undoubtedly produce a major realignment of the international system as a whole and an entirely positive one.

India and the United States have already traveled a long way toward building that new relationship. India stands alongside the United States in the effort to confront and eliminate the scourge of global terrorism and to reduce the instability and the conflict in South Asia and elsewhere. We look forward to expanding the areas of common interest and joint action. Nowhere is that cooperation more important, Mr. Speaker, than in stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.

I should note that this legislation affirms that India is a country that has demonstrated responsible behavior with respect to nonproliferation of technology related to weapons of mass destruction programs and the means to deliver them and that it is working with the United States in key foreign policy initiatives related to nonproliferation.

To further that goal, this legislation establishes as U.S. policy securing India's participation in the Proliferation Security Initiative, which is a cooperative arrangement among the world's powers to intercept the illicit movement of nuclear materials and other dangerous items by sea or air. India's cooperation would be a major addition to the world's efforts in this difficult but essential task. I am confident that her government will move quickly to assume a more prominent position among the initiative's growing ranks.

Lastly, Mr. Speaker, I am glad that this historic bill carries the name of HENRY HYDE; a leader of great proportions, a mentor to so many of us, a man of principles, a living legend, our friend, HENRY HYDE.


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