The FINANCIAL — WASHINGTON, President George W. Bush welcomed the approval by the U.S. House of Representative of a bill lifting a 30-year ban on the sale of civilian nuclear materials to India.
The House passed a civilian nuclear pact with India by a 298-117 vote on September 28.
"The passage of this legislation by the House is another major step forward in achieving the transformation of the U.S.-India relationship," Bush said in a statement circulated by the U.S. White House and urged the Senate to approve the bill.
Electric power generation at India's nuclear power plants is declining due to the shortage of fuel. However, as India has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it is banned from purchasing uranium abroad while the country's uranium reserves are insufficient to meet domestic demand.
The implementation of this deal is the only way for India to facilitate cooperation with nuclear powers without signing the NPT. India refuses to join the NPT, saying that it discriminates against countries that tested nuclear weapons after 1967.
India tested a nuclear weapon in 1974, and the multinational Nuclear Suppliers Group was subsequently founded in 1975 to control nuclear materials proliferation.