Schiff Strengthens Nonproliferation Provisions

Washington, D.C. – The House Committee on International Relations today passed an amendment authored by Representative Adam Schiff that would ensure that the United States’ nuclear cooperation agreement with India – designed to improve safeguards on India’s civilian nuclear energy program – will not be used to facilitate India’s nuclear weapons program.  The amendment was passed as part of the United States and India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 5682), which makes way for a partnership between the United States and India on nuclear energy technology.

“Before entering into any agreement involving nuclear energy our first priority needs to be guaranteeing that every safeguard possible is in place to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons,” Schiff said.  “My amendment is designed to do just that.  When we continue our work to cultivate improved cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, we must also endeavor to ensure that in improving relations with India, we do not undermine the global nonproliferation regime.”

Rep. Schiff’s amendment asks the President to submit to Congress a report on the steps the U.S. is taking to ensure that nuclear energy cooperation will not assist India's nuclear weapons program -- directly or indirectly. In particular, the amendment calls for action to preclude the use of American technology or nuclear fuel in India’s weapons program.  Once nuclear cooperation is underway, the amendment requires an annual report updating Congress on any diversion or nuclear assistance to India’s weapons program.  The amendment requires the report to go beyond a narrow legalistic interpretation of assistance to the weapons program, and closes potential loopholes that could lead to inadvertent nuclear weapons assistance.