U.S.-India Nuclear Power Deal Inches Ahead

A deal between the United States and India to trade in civilian nuclear equipment has taken another step toward approval.

On Thursday, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) offered a proposal for the deal that included congressional oversight provisions not added to a version accepted in the Senate, and the House was preparing to vote on it.

But after a phone call from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Berman changed course, swapping out his earlier bill for one that aligns with the Senate’s bill. And his spokeswoman Lynne Weil said the House is set to consider it today.

Berman’s shift could speed passage of the deal, which would open the door for U.S. businesses to sell to India’s booming nuclear energy market. But arms control advocates offer the buzz-kill: the agreement’s failure to extract nuclear safety concessions from India sets a precedent that could open the door to global nuclear weapons proliferation.