WASHINGTON: India's efforts to convince Capitol Hill about the merits of the India-United States nuclear deal got a shot in the arm, with a prominent India-basher joining hands with traditional supporters to back the agreement.

Congressman Dan Burton, along with Co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans Gary Ackerman and the former Co-Chairs, Joe Crowley and Joe Wilson, wrote a letter addressed to all members of the House of Representatives, countering the erroneous assertions made by detractors of the deal.

The lawmakers disagreed that the deal had potential negative impacts on non-proliferation. They said India would place 14 out of 22 existing and planned facilities under IAEA safeguards. "Once a reactor has been placed under safeguards, it will be that way permanently and without conditions."

The letter referred to the latest State Department Report on Patterns of Global Terrorism, which said India had an excellent record of protecting its nuclear assets. Also, India's Parliament passed the Weapons of Mass Destruction Bill aimed at preventing the transfer of WMD, delivery systems and related technologies to state and non-state actors.

The lawmakers said India's economy was strong and growing at a "truly impressive rate." Its need for additional resources to sustain the growth could be met by the deal. Both India and the U.S. "reaped the benefits" of increased levels of cooperation in several fields. "This agreement continues in that tradition while enhancing the long-term goals of nuclear non-proliferation." PTI

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