Rep. Cliff Stearns

U.S. House of Representatives

An Amendment to the U.S. and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006

July 26, 2006

   Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

   My amendment to this bill would clarify and reinforce the intent of Congress that nuclear cooperation into which the governments of the United States and India would enter is for peaceful and productive purposes and not military purposes. And I think a lot of us who view this bill have some concerns.

   Now, the intent of this amendment is obviously woven throughout this legislation, but I thought an elevated position by a sense of Congress in what we are talking about perhaps would alleviate some of the colleagues, particularly the gentleman from Massachusetts. It bears reiterating that this country stands for peace and not war.

   While India has agreed to allow monitoring at 14 of their nuclear reactors to ensure fuel is not used for weapons, my colleagues, there are eight other reactors and an unknown number of future reactors that can produce material for military purposes, free of any oversight or control. It is, indeed, obviously, an improvement in the status quo for India to open up any of its reactors to oversight, but the dangers inherent in further assisting India's nuclear development are clear.

   These are unsettling times in nuclear proliferation. Iran and North Korea, for example, have violated their responsibilities under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and are producing or attempting to produce significant arsenals of nuclear weapons. Pakistan was aided and abetted with nuclear capability.

   Support for today's legislation, and for broader cooperation with India, crosses party lines. We all understand that. We all support India. It is a burgeoning multiethnic, multireligious, free market democracy, has a firm rule of law and respect for personal liberties. These are all good. As such, India presents a hearty example, like the United States, for the world to follow. Clearly, the nation of India is and should be our friend, and we respect it.

   However, my colleagues, India has refused to sign, as mentioned before, the 1968 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It refuses to accept full scope of the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards over all its nuclear facilities, and India continues to produce fissile materials for its growing nuclear arsenal. These have been brought to our attention.

   But, moreover, India is no stranger to violating international nuclear commitments to use nuclear assistance for civilian purposes. In 1974, it detonated a nuclear bomb manufactured using plutonium from a Canadian-supplied nuclear reactor, with heavy water provided by the U.S. Both countries had provided India with nuclear technology based on commitment to peaceful use.

   Now, my colleagues, the former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Sam Nunn, wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal: ``There is every reason to suspect that Pakistan and China will react to this deal by ratcheting up their own suspicions and nuclear activities, including making additional weapons material and weapons.''

   So, Mr. Chairman, we should avoid fanning the flames here of a regional nuclear arms race. I think all of us remember President Reagan's words when he mentioned in a radio address on April 17, 1982, “A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

   So I think this amendment is basically a sense of Congress, a straightforward sense, to give us more assurance that what we are trying to do here is to help them in a peaceful way. We seek friendship and peace with all nations, particularly India, but we will not purchase this friendship with nuclear arms.

     [Agreed to by recorded vote: 414 - 0 (Roll no. 407).]

See the original in the Congressional Record on Pages H5919

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