Britain welcomes India wiling to join agreement on nuclear nonproliferation

The British government yesterday welcomed an assurance from India that it is willing to adhere to international guidelines on nuclear nonproliferation.

Following a meeting last week, United States President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a joint statement saying India had agreed to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities, keep its nuclear technologies from states that do not have them and allow international oversight of the civilian program.

In exchange, the statement said, Bush would push for a reversal of a current U.S. policy that keeps America from helping India build a nuclear power program to solve its electrical shortage.

In an announcement Monday, the British government said that before last week's agreement between India and the U.S., Britain had also been considering cooperating with India on nuclear issues.

"India's willingness to engage on nuclear nonproliferation with the international community represents a significant step forward," a government spokesman said in an announcement Monday.

India has refused to sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, but the British government spokesman said the Asian country had a good record in preventing proliferation of its nuclear technologies and had indicated it was prepared to follow nonproliferation guidelines.

"Through adoption of the measures outlined in the joint statement, India will demonstrate its willingness to accept voluntarily the obligations that are taken on by states, which are nuclear weapons states under the nonproliferation treaty.

"On this basis, we are ready to discuss with our international partners the basis for co-operation in civil nuclear matters with India", AP reports.

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