U.S. panel backs India nuclear deal

A congressional panel in the United States has proposed a new law to clear the way for a nuclear deal with India. It would give New Delhi access to nuclear fuel and reactors from the U.S. for the first time in 30 years.

The House of Representatives foreign relations committee voted 37 to 5 in favour of the legislation. It would make India exempt from current law restricting nuclear trade with countries that have not undergone full inspections.

The deal was first discussed between the two countries last July and finalised during President George Bush's visit to India in March. India will open its nuclear facilities to inspectors in exchange for access to U.S. civilian nuclear technology.

Developments have raised concern that India will step up nuclear weapons production. India is one of the few nuclear powers that have not signed an international treaty limiting the spread of nuclear weapons.