Timeline of U.S.-India Nuclear Talks

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Compiled by the U.S. News library staff.

1968: India refuses to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty on the grounds that it is discriminatory.

5/18/1974: India first tests a nuclear weapon in an underground explosion.

3/10/1978: President Jimmy Carter signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act. As a result, the United States ceases exporting nuclear assistance to India.

5/11-13/1998: Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee authorizes five underground nuclear tests in response to Pakistan's test firing of a surface-to-surface missile.

7/18/2005: President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh first announce their intention to enter into a nuclear agreement.

2/22/2006: Bush, in a meeting with Indian journalists, says,

"It's in our country's interest to encourage India in its development of a civilian nuclear power program. The American people are beginning to see high prices of energy, but so are the Indian people. And the reason is...global demand for energy."

3/1/2006: President and Mrs. Bush travel to India for the first time.

3/2/2006: Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issue a joint statement regarding their growing strategic partnership, particularly in regard to their agreement on civil nuclear cooperation.

4/5/2006: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testifies in Congress and before the House International Relations Committee in support of the nuclear deal.

7/9/2006: India tests a nuclear-capable missile that has the longest range in its arsenal—1,800 miles.

7/26/2006: The House of Representatives passes the "Henry J. Hyde United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act of 2006," which establishes that the United States will cooperate with India on nuclear issues and exempts them from signing the Nonproliferation Treaty.

11/16/2006: The Senate passes the "United States-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation and U.S. Additional Protocol Implementation Act" to "exempt from certain requirements of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 United States exports of nuclear materials, equipment, and technology to India."

12/18/2006: President Bush signs into law congressional legislation on Indian atomic energy.

Among the terms of the agreement:

1. India is allowed to stock and reprocess nuclear fuel.

2. American companies are able to sell nuclear technology to India.
3. India agrees to open some of its nuclear reactors to international inspections. In order for the deal to move forward, India must make a separate safeguard agreement with the IAEA. Additionally, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, 45 nations that control the export or transfer of nuclear materials and technology, must approve an exception to its guidelines.

The agreement does not require India to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty, first begun in 1968 with the objective "to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote co-operation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament."

President Bush says: "The bill is going to help us achieve four key goals. First, the bill will help us strengthen cooperation between India and United States on one of the most important challenges in the 21st century, and that is energy.... Second, the bill will help promote economic growth.... Third, the bill will help make it possible for India to reduce emissions—and improve its environment.... Finally, the bill will help keep America safe by paving the way for India to join the global effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons."

7/17-20/2007: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon hold four days of meetings in Washington on the U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Cooperation initiative.

7/27/2007: Negotiations on a bilateral agreement between the United States and India conclude. Burns, head U.S. negotiator, says that the agreement is consistent with the Hyde Act.

8/2/2007: Some Democrats in Congress voice criticism of the deal because they feel it contradicts the U.S. position on nuclear nonproliferation by not requiring India to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and does not go far enough in strongly discouraging nuclear tests. (Text in the legislation states: "Any waiver under section 104 shall cease to be effective if the President determines that India has detonated a nuclear explosive device after the date of the enactment of this title.")