US would stop nuke trade if India tests bomb

A leading Democratic lawmaker has made public a secret Bush administration document that says the US has the right to immediately stop nuclear trade with India should that country conduct an atomic test. The US statement on future Indian testing, contained in a letter kept private for nine months, appears at odds with Indian officials' insistence that a landmark US-Indian civilian nuclear cooperation accord would not ban Indian nuclear tests. Rep. Howard Berman is releasing the State Department's Jan. 16 answers to key congressional questions at a sensitive moment in the countries' pursuit of a deal that would reverse three decades of US policy by shipping atomic fuel to India in return for international inspections on India's civilian reactors. Members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group of countries that export nuclear material are gathering in Vienna on Thursday and Friday to discuss the deal. The Bush administration must get an exemption for India from the NSG's rules before the U.S. Congress could ratify the proposal, which would allow the sale of nuclear materials to a country that has tested nuclear weapons but has refused to sign nonproliferation treaties.