Nuke Tests Prove Critical Issue

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Science  21 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5772, pp. 351
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5772.351c

DELHI—Casting further doubts on the uncertain fate of a landmark nuclear pact, India has rebuffed a U.S. bid for India to forswear further atomic bomb tests.

Under the deal last month, India agreed to place a majority of its power reactors under safeguards in exchange for the right to import nuclear energy technology (Science, 10 March, p. 1356). With approval required from legislators skeptical of the deal's nonproliferation merits, the U.S. government earlier this month sent India a draft agreement that includes a clause declaring an end of cooperation if India were to detonate a nuclear device. Although India has adhered to a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear tests since its last round of detonations in 1998, the government deemed the clause a poison pill.

“There was no place for any such provision” in an agreement, says a spokesperson for India's Foreign Office. Negotiations are ongoing, with a team of senior U.S. officials expected in Delhi some time next week to continue talks.

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