Senate endorses India nuclear deal
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly endorsed a plan allowing the United States to ship civilian nuclear fuel and technology to India, handing President George W. Bush an important victory on one of his top foreign policy initiatives.
Senior lawmakers from both political parties championed the proposal, which reverses decades of U.S. anti-proliferation policy, saying it strengthens a key relationship with a friendly Asian power that has long maintained what the United States considers a responsible nuclear program. Thursday's vote was 85-12.
Republican Senator Richard Lugar called the plan "a lasting incentive" for India to shun future nuclear weapons tests and "to cooperate closely with the United States in stopping proliferation." Democratic Senator Joseph Biden said the endorsement pushes America "a giant step closer" to a "major shift in U.S.-Indian relations."
"If we are right, this shift will increase the prospect for stability and progress in South Asia and in the world at large," Biden said.
Even with the strong approval by the Senate, however, several hurdles loom before India and the United States could begin civil nuclear trade.
First on that list, lawmakers in the House of Representatives, which overwhelmingly endorsed the plan in July, and the Senate must now reconcile their versions into a single bill before the next congressional session begins in January. That bill would then be sent to Bush for his signature.
So, what do you guys feel. Difference of opinion is welcome.