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India's nuke plan sent to US without Union cabinet's approval

New Delhi, Jan 7, IRNA-India's plan to separate its military and civilian nuclear facilities was submitted to the United States government without prior approval by the Union cabinet.

The plan, which include the names of facilities that India is willing to put under international inspection, are part of a highly secretive exercise that sent Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran rushing to Washington to personally hand the plan over to the Bush administration, the leading English daily `Asian Age' reported here today.

Significantly, National Security Adviser M K Narayanan had indicated recently that the plan submitted by the government to segregate military and civilian facilities was not final and was open to "negotiations" after it was examined by the Bush administration.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently said in Washington, "We have been very clear that while we want India very much to have access to civil nuclear technology, we also want to do this in a way that strengthens non-proliferation and so that is why the arrangement is designed as it should be -- the negotiations are ongoing."

There is no word from the government as to which facility has been placed under the civilian and which under the military category, and this has led to visible unease among nuclear experts here.

Brahma Chellaney, a political analyst, said that it was his view that "America is using the ongoing negotiations to try to limit the size of India's deterrence, control its fast breeder program and bring a maximum number of Indian nuclear facilities under international inspections."

The worry has in a sense been confirmed by US Secretary of State Rice who remarked that the Bush administration was trying to ensure that the separation plan submitted by India is "transparent, credible and defensible."

US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns will be arriving here later this month to continue discussions with Indian officials based on the plan that was submitted by the foreign secretary in December.

Experts have pointed out that the separation plan submitted by the Manmohan Singh government without taking the nation into confidence will be the basis for hard negotiations with the Americans.

It is not a final plan as further negotiations are still to be held. There has also been no word from the government about the basic provision.

US expert: Israel influenced India to vote against Iran

New Delhi, Jan 7, IRNA-Israel was a factor in the Cogress-led Indian government's decision to vote against Iran in the meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors on September 24, 2005.

"Israel pressured India not to vote for Iran," the leading English daily `Asian Age' said here today, quoting Stephen Philip Cohen, a US analyst and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

He also alluded to the opposition from the US Congress, which is still to approve a civilian nuclear energy cooperation with India, and New Delhi's need to balance its relations with countries in the region to explain New Delhi's response to the vote on the Iran nuclear issue.

Noting that a lot depended on India's separation of her civilian and military nuclear facilities, the US analyst said New Delhi ought to "size up its military program." "It is a legitimate question to ask whether India has a huge weapons ambition and what those ambitions are," he said, and woundered cryptically, "Why was the Congress in a hurry to push the nuclear deal? Was it because of reserves or to overcome a psychological hurdle?"

... Payvand News - 1/7/06 ... --

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