US Senate approval for Indo-US nuclear deal

The Senate approval traverses a major hurdle towards India's ambitious plans to expand its nuclear generation capacity over the next decade.

The US Senate has approved the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Agreement by an overwhelming majority. More importantly the Senate, which is still Republican-dominated as the newly elected members would take charge only next year, has passed the legislation without the suggested amendments which would have altered the nature of the agreement significantly.

The Senate passed the Bill by an 85-12 margin and rejected three amendments. The proposed amendments called for India to halt its military cooperation with Iran and stop production of fissile material besides requiring the US president to certify that India is not using US-origin equipment and technology to develop nuclear weapons.

However, the Senate passed an amendment, which requires the US president to confirm that India is fully and actively participating in international efforts to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The Bill was earlier passed by the US House of Representatives by a 359-68 vote and now has to be approved by a joint conference of the US Congress. Once that hurdle is also crossed, maybe by December end, the US president can sign the Bill into law.