WASHINGTON: US President George W Bush will sign the legislation on the Indo-US nuclear deal, approved by the Congress, into a law on Wednesday October 8 2008, the White house said.
Bush will sign the Bill H R 7081, named after Howard Berman, a Democrat who was strongly opposed to the deal on non-proliferation grounds but was brought around to accepting it recently, on October 8 (Wednesday) at the White House.
“The President cordially invites you to the Signing of H R 7081, United States India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act,” reads an invitation sent out by the White House.
Ever since the Senate passed the legislation on October 1, senior officials have privately maintained that Bush will be keen on having a signing ceremony in which he will have the opportunity to thank not only members of his administration, especially at the State Department and the White House who worked to secure the deal, but also members of Congress and the leaders of the Indian American community.
The president is spending his weekend at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and will return to the White House in Washington DC after an event in Ohio on Monday.
The bill was approved by both the House of Representatives and Senate last week with bi-partisan support.
Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, addressing a joint press conference with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi, had said that President Bush will sign the legislation “very soon”.
Mukherjee made it clear that India will sign the 123 agreement to operationalise the deal with the US only after Bush signs the bill. India expects a statement from Bush while signing the legislation will address its concerns over certain provisions of the 123 agreement.
Meanwhile, scores of Left party activists on Saturday staged a demonstration in the national capital as they observed a ‘Black Day’ to protest the UPA government’s moving ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Led by senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D Raja, the activists marched towards the Hyderabad House in New Delhi where External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were scheduled to hold discussions but were prevented from reaching the venue.Addressing the protestors, Yechury said the agitation was the “last warning” to the UPA government not to go ahead with the deal, which was “detrimental” to the sovereignty of the country and its independent foreign policy.
“We have heard that US President George W Bush has not signed the deal. It will be good for this country, if he does not sign the deal,” he said.
The Left parties’ protest also saw the participation of TDP MP Mysoora Reddy and Forward Bloc Secretary G Deverajan.
Yechury said the agreement includes all “retrogade” provisions of the Hyde Act which puts “further” constraints on full civilian nuclear cooperation.
“There is no uninterrupted fuel supply assurance, no provision for strategic fuel reserve, no transfer of nuclear technology and steps to be taken against Iran,” Left party leaders said.
The leaders said that any self-respecting government would have refused to sign the deal and operationalise it.
— DDI News