27 July 2007
The 123 Agreement negotiations between India and the US were concluded
The 123 Agreement, also known as the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, under which the US agreed for full civil nuclear cooperation with India, was concluded on 27th July 2007.
Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement – 123 Agreement
- The Indo-US civil nuclear agreement was conceived by the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then American President George Bush in July 2005 in Washington.
- Under this framework, India agreed to segregate her military and civil nuclear facilities and also to place all the civil nuclear facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA.
- The deal took its time to come to fruition because the US required an amendment in its domestic law and India required a separation of civil and military nuclear capabilities. There was also an agreement between India and the IAEA. Also, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) also had to grant India an exemption.
- After the deal, India became the only nuclear state which is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to be able to engage in nuclear trade with the world because of the NSG waiver obtained in September 2008.
- India’s credibility in the world, her commitment to non-proliferation and her standing as a peaceful nation not indulging in premeditated attacks on other countries were factors that led the USA into changing its stance on the issue. One of the architects of the deal Nicholas Burns commented that the same could not be said of Pakistan when asked if the US would strike a similar deal with Pakistan.
- George Bush visited India in March 2006 and issued a joint statement with Manmohan Singh with a special emphasis on civil nuclear cooperation.
- After about four months, the USA passed the Hyde Act which stated that the US would cooperate with India on civil nuclear concerns and would exempt India from signing the NPT.
- Negotiations between both countries on the bilateral agreement concluded on 27th July 2007. Both governments released the 123 Agreement, formally called the ‘Agreement for Cooperation between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of India concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy’.
- In India, the government faced stiff opposition from rival parties particularly the Left parties. In 2008, the government survived a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.
- The deal is officially signed on 10th October 2008 between the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and the then Secretary of State of the US Condoleeza Rice in Washington D.C.
- The international reaction to the deal was mixed. China remarked that the deal represents ‘a major blow to the international non-proliferation regime’.
- There was some speculation in India that the deal tied India’s hands in terms of conducting a nuclear test. But many experts pointed out that there was no such prohibition.
- This deal marked a watershed in the relations between India and the USA.
Also on this day
1994: The Parliament voted to ban pre-natal sex determination. 2015: Death of former President Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam.
See previous ‘This Day in History’ here.