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India discussing nuke deal with New Mexico?

April 01, 2010 12:46 IST
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Consul General in San Francisco Susmita Gongulee Thomas, during her visit to Santa Fe in New Mexico in February, reportedly discussed the possibility of exporting nuclear fuel to India with Governor Bill Richardson. had earlier reported that Thomas and Richardson, a former Energy Secretary, "discussed the possibility of exporting nuclear fuel to India from New Mexico, which has abundant reserves of uranium."

An article in the Santa Fe Reporter quoted a local Indian community leader as saying that seeking enriched uranium and uranium ore for the country's nuclear plants was on Thomas's agenda.

India and the US are also working towards consummating a civil nuclear agreement, talks for which began during the regime of former US President George W Bush.

Recently, the US finalised the conditions under which it will permit India to reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

However, Governor Richardson denied that the issue of exporting uranium had come up during his talks with Thomas.

The Santa Fe Reporter quoted's New York-based correspondent George Joseph as saying that the discussions about nuclear trade had been confirmed by sources inside the consul.

It also quoted MV Ramana, an expert on the nuclearisation of South Asia, as saying that India probably wanted enriched uranium from New Mexico for reactors which met guidelines set by the International Atomic Energy Agency. He ruled out the possibility of India using the uranium to upgrade its defence technology, but cautioned that India might import uranium from other sources for that purpose.

France and Russia have already inked nuclear agreements with India, and Canada is also vying for a piece of India's multi-billion dollar uranium trade.

Security experts have repeatedly warned that US' landmark deal with New Delhi may trigger off a nuclear arms race in South Asia, and China may decide to sign a similar agreement with India's troubled neighbour Pakistan.

Image: US President Barack Obama with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson | Photograph: John Gress/Reuters

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