Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Sorry, the Hyde Act does apply to us

We have been going back and forth on the Indo- US nuclear deal for a while now. One of the strongest arguments mounted in favour of the deal has been that the Hyde Act is a purely domestic legislation of the US. We will be bound only by the 123 agreement with the US. Advocates of this line will be swiftly disillusioned by this report in Rediff from its Washington correspodent about the recent discussions that a US Congresionnal delegation had with the Indian government:

The Massachusetts Democrat (Ed Market) reiterated, "So what I did was just to raise for them what the law of the United States is with regard to the impact that a nuclear explosion would have since the section, which is being amended is the Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act and the Non-proliferation act of 1978, and obviously the Hyde Act amends that to make it possible for have a transaction with India."

Markey said that while the delegation was in India, the debate continued to rage 'inside India as to whether or not -- the Hyde Act was the final arbiter'.

The delegation had impressed upon all Indian officials and parliamentarians that India has to abide by the provisions of the Hyde Act, he added.

He said the delegation had pointed out to the Indian officials and parliamentarians that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images] had assured the US Congress that 'the Bush Administration intends on abiding by the Hyde Act and we made it clear that the Hyde Act was the law of the United States when we were there -- when we were speaking with all of the various groups that we met with."

Asked if there was an appreciation by Dr Singh and his senior Cabinet colleagues and others that it was the Hyde Act that superseded the 123 Agreement, Markey said: "I hope so. The discussion turned exclusively while we were there on the Hyde Act -- that was the discussion. And, whether or not, the Hyde Act was binding upon the President of the United States, which we assured them, it was."

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