Washington, D.C. President Bush signed legislation Monday to let America share its nuclear know-how and fuel with India even though New Delhi refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The bill carves out an exemption in U.S. law to allow civilian nuclear trade with India in exchange for Indian safeguards and inspections at its 14 civilian nuclear plants. Eight military plants, however, would remain off-limits to the inspections.
The House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the nuclear cooperation bill.
Critics worry the agreement could spark a nuclear arms race in Asia by boosting India's atomic arsenal. They also argue that the measure undermines international efforts to prevent states like Iran and North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The White House said it was willing to make an exception for India, the world's largest democracy, because it had protected its nuclear technology and not been a proliferator.