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U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress

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Congressional rept.

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On July 18, 2005, President Bush announced he would work to achieve full civil nuclear energy cooperation with India and would also seek agreement from Congress to adjust U.S. laws and policies, in the context of a broader, global partnership with India to promote stability, democracy, prosperity, and peace. Administration officials have promoted nuclear cooperation with India as a way to reduce Indias carbon dioxide emissions and its dependence on oil, bring India into the nonproliferation mainstream, and create jobs for U.S. industry. India, which has never signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty NPT, has nuclear weapons and does not have International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards on all nuclear material in peaceful nuclear activities. Its explosion of a peaceful nuclear device in 1974 convinced the world of the need for greater restrictions on nuclear trade. The United States created the Nuclear Suppliers Group NSG as a direct response to Indias test, halted nuclear exports to India a few years later, and worked to convince other states to do the same. India tested nuclear weapons again in 1998. Nonproliferation experts have suggested that potential costs to U.S. and global nonproliferation policy of nuclear cooperation with India may far exceed the benefits. At a time when the United States has called for all states to strengthen their domestic export control laws and for tighter multilateral controls, U.S. nuclear cooperation with India would require loosening its own nuclear export legislation, as well as creating a NSG exception. This is at odds with nearly three decades of U.S. nonproliferation policy and practice. Some believe the proposed agreement undercuts the basic bargain of the NPT, could undermine hard-won restrictions on nuclear supply, and could prompt some suppliers, like China, to justify supplying other states outside the NPT regime. The appendix contains Frequently Asked Questions about U.S.-India Nuclear Cooperation.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Nuclear Weapons

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