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Press Release - JINSA Urges Full Implementation of U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation

WASHINGTON--The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) today called on the Obama Administration to strengthen the critically important U.S.-India relationship, citing the strategic importance in countering the nuclear threat from Iran.

"The United States could not have a more important partner in the effort to curb Iranian nuclear weapons development and counter the scourge of global nuclear proliferation than India," said JINSA Executive Director Tom Neumann.

Responding to JINSA's increasing concern over the appointment of Rep. Ellen O. Tauscher to be Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security because of her long-standing opposition to the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act, Neumann exhorted President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to take a lead role in ensuring that this law and other U.S. laws related to civil nuclear cooperation with India are fully implemented.

Tauscher's appointment as America's top nuclear watchdog, "calls into question the future execution of the Indo-U.S. nuclear agreement," Neumann said. If that were to happen, he noted, America would jeopardize New Delhi's recent distancing from Iran, a top oil and gas supplier to energy-starved India.

Neumann also cautioned against holding civil nuclear power cooperation hostage to America's tenuous relations with Pakistan. "Caving to demands to go slow on civilian nuclear trade with India to ensure Pakistan's cooperation in the war in Afghanistan would be a grave folly and extremely short-sighted," Neumann said. "There should be no implicit or explicit linkage – the U.S.-India relationship must remain completely independent of U.S.-Pakistan relationship."

Shyam Saran, top advisor on nuclear issues to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, came to Washington last week to outline New Delhi's firm posture toward Iran’s nuclear program. Neumann noted that Saran's tough talk is all the more remarkable as it comes but one month before the next opportunity for a vote at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna. In February, India voted for a resolution accusing Iran of "non-compliance" with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the IAEA's statute. This key vote may have paved the way for U.N. sanctions against Iran.

Furthermore, Saran named Pakistan as the supplier of Iran's clandestine nuclear program and demanded an investigation into the role of A.Q. Khan, Pakistan's top nuclear scientist and chief nuclear proliferators, into shipments to Iran. Previously, New Delhi was officially silent on Khan’s disreputable nuclear dealings.

"The manifest importance of securing a united front to contest and roll back Iran's nuclear weapons aspirations must inform the Obama Administration's approach to India and the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement," Neumann said.

JINSA is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian educational organization established in 1976 to educate the public on national and international security issues, including the importance of an effective U.S. defense capability and the key role of strategic allies, including Israel, to promote democratic values in the Middle East.

Jewish Institute for National Security of America
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