US – India Nuclear Timeline
1968: India refuses to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
1974: India conducts a nuclear weapon test, calling it a “peaceful” nuclear explosion. India produces the material for the nuclear test using a Canadian-supplied reactor and US-supplied heavy water which had been intended for peaceful purposes.
1978: In response to the Indian nuclear tests, Congress (with the leadership of Sen. John Glenn D-OH) passes -- and President Jimmy Carter signs -- the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act which prohibits nuclear trade with countries that have not placed all its reactors under full-scope safeguards. The United States stops giving India nuclear assistance.
June 3, 1994: India tests its Prithvi medium-range missile.
1997: The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (part of India’s Department of Atomic Energy) builds a fast breeder test reactor, which produces nuclear weapons-usable material.
1998: With the authorization of Indian PM Vajpayee, India conducts underground nuclear weapon tests and elicits broad international condemnation. The United States imposes sanctions on India.
April 11, 1999: India successfully test fires the intermediate range Agni-II ballistic missile (range of 1,2500-1,5600 miles; 2000-2500 km).
June 15, 2001: The Bush administration lifts sanctions on India that were imposed after its 1998 nuclear tests.
July 9, 2002: Hans Raj Shiv, an Indian national, is sanctioned under the Iran-Iraq Arms Non-Proliferation Act of 1992 and the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 for contributing to the efforts of Iran and Iraq to acquire chemical weapons or destabilizing advanced conventional weapons.
2002: The Indian government announces the start of construction of its first prototype fast breeder reactor (estimated to be operational in 2010).
September 29, 2004: Indian scientists Y.S.R. Prasad and C. Surendar are sanctioned under the Iran Nonproliferation Act for transferring equipment or technology that could further the development of weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missile systems.
July 18, 2005: President Bush and Prime Minister Singh announce their intention to cooperate on issues pertaining to energy, economic growth, agriculture, health, and technology. This joint statement also states President Bush’s intent to help change U.S. laws and international rules to “enable full civil nuclear energy cooperation and trade with India,” marking a reversal in long-standing U.S. policy not to engage in nuclear trade with countries that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The announcement is made without prior consultation with Congress.
December 15, 2005: Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Fred Upton (R-MI) introduce a bipartisan resolution, H.Con.Res. 318, expressing concern about the planned nuclear deal with India.
December 23, 2005: The United States imposes sanctions on two Indian companies, Sabero Organics Gujarat Ltd. and Sandhya Organic Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., for selling chemicals to Iran in violation of the Iran Nonproliferation Act.
February 20, 2006: France and India sign a nuclear cooperation agreement. Then-French President Jacques Chirac pledges to support India's attempts to improve its access to nuclear fuel and civilian nuclear technology.
February 22, 2006: President Bush, during a meeting with an Indian reporters, states that it is in the United States’ interest “to encourage India in its development of a civilian nuclear power program.”
March 1, 2006: President Bush travels to India for the first time.
March 3, 2006: President Bush meets with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in India to set the terms on a tentative nuclear cooperation agreement. India proposes a plan to separate its military and civilian nuclear facilities. The plan (elaborated on May 11, 2006) places fourteen reactors under safeguards while excluding eight reactors (including its reprocessing facilities, enrichment facilities, fast breeder reactors and three heavy water facilities and other military production facilities) outside safeguards. It also gives India the prerogative to decide whether future reactors will come under safeguards or be part of its nuclear weapons program. (The plan provides that the CIRUS reactor (originally provided by Canada for peaceful purposes and instead used in India’s nuclear weapons program) will be shut down in 2010.)
March 15, 2006: Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) and Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) introduce legislation (H.R. 4974 and S. 2429) to further the U.S.-India nuclear agreement at the expense of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954.
April/May 2006: The House International Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hold hearings on the proposed nuclear deal with India.
April 5, 2006: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testifies in Congress in support of the nuclear deal with India.
May 11, 2006: India provides additional details on its proposed separation plan.
June 27, 2006: The House International Relations Committee passes H.R. 5682, alternate legislation that changes US law to allow U.S.-India nuclear agreement. Several nonproliferation amendments intended to restrict India’s capability to produce fissile material fail although several non-proliferation conditions and reporting requirements are added. The Committee approves the bill 37-5 and sends it to the full floor of the House for consideration.
June 29, 2006: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passes nuclear alternate legislation, changing US law to allow US-India nuclear trade. Several non-proliferation amendments intended restrict India’s capability to produce fissile material fail, while several provisions are accepted. The Committee approves the bill 16-2 and sends it to the full Senate floor for consideration.
July 9, 2006: India tests the Agni III, a nuclear-capable missile with a range of over 1,800 miles (3000 km).
July 19, 2006: Senator Lugar (R-IN), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announces that the Senate will not consider S. 3709 until after its August recess.
July 25, 2006: The Department of State makes a determination to sanction two Indian companies for transferring WMD technology to Iran, but waits to announce the sanctions publicly until August 4, 2006, after the House votes to change long-standing U.S. nonproliferation laws to allow nuclear trade with India.
July 26, 2006: The House of Representatives votes on H.R. 5682, legislation that will further the U.S.-India nuclear deal. The bill passes 359-68. Three amendments to improve the nonproliferation aspects of the bill fail.
August 4, 2006: The Department of State formally announces the imposition of US sanctions under the Iran Nonproliferation Act of 2000 against two Indian entities for the transfer of WMD equipment and technology to Iran. The sanctions report was delayed as it had been due to Congress in May 2006.
November 17, 2006: In a lame-duck session, the Senate passes the U.S.-India nuclear deal, S. 3709, by a vote of 85-12. Of nine proposed nonproliferation amendments, four were adopted and five rejected.
November 21, 2006: India and China announce a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement that would facilitate the exchange of nuclear technology between the two nations.
November 24, 2006: Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Pakistan to sign economic accords and strengthen ties. China reaffirmed its intent to support Pakistan’s nuclear energy program, but no specific plans were announced.
November 28, 2006: The largest US Trade mission to any country goes to India. WM Mining, a U.S. company, agrees to sell 500 metric tons per year of uranium to India when trade deals come into effect.
November 2006: Canadian Magnum Uranium Corp plans to enter Indian market once nuclear trade with India is allowed.
December 18, 2006: President Bush signs H.R. 5682 into law (P.L. 109-401), reversing decades of US non-proliferation policy. The Hyde Act provides waivers for a nuclear cooperation agreement with India from relevant Atomic Energy Act provisions, and requires information on the separation plan and safeguards. It also provides for a joint resolution of approval to enable the 123 implementation agreement between the United States and India, allowing Congress to review and vote on the agreement once the implementation details are negotiated.
January 25, 2007: Russia and India sign a nuclear deal to allow Russia to build four nuclear power reactors in India should the Nuclear Suppliers Group lift its restrictions on India’s access to nuclear technology.
May 11, 2007: Russian President Vladimir Putin expressing Moscow’s willingness to enter into civilian nuclear energy cooperation with India, including supplying nuclear for India’s Tarapur plant and constructing new nuclear power reactors.
July 2007: The Indian Cabinet announces that India has reached agreement with the United States regarding the implementation of safeguards on select nuclear facilities.
March-Aug. 2007: U.S.-Indian differences on reprocessing, Indian nuclear testing, among other issues, delay negotiation of the US-India 123 implementation agreement.
August 3, 2007: A week after the Indian government discusses the provisions of the 123 agreement with the Indian press, the Department of State makes public the US-India 123 implementation agreement. After months of disagreement, India is successful in getting the United States to agree to India reprocessing the spent fuel to produce plutonium. The agreement also fails to mention specifically a potential Indian nuclear weapon test and provides ambiguous language related to the consequences of a nuclear test.
August 2007: Australian cabinet discusses lifting uranium sales ban on India. Australia’s foreign minister defends prospect of selling Uranium to India.
August 16, 2007: Australia and India agree to negotiate nuclear trade pact.
August 2007: An Indian company wins right to mine Uranium in Niger, the first time an Indian company has won a contract for uranium exploration outside of India.
August 2007: Opposition to the nuclear deal from leftist parties such as the Communist Party of India (Marxist) intensifies, threatening PM Manmohan Singh’s ruling coalition. Acting under pressure from its largely communist opposition, the UPA government establishes a committee to evaluate the nuclear cooperation agreement, and agrees to take the committee’s finding into account while operationalizing the nuclear cooperation agreement.
August 22, 2007: Communists declare their intent to engage in mass mobilization against the nuclear cooperation agreement.
September 25, 2007: U.S. Ambassador to India David Mulford urges the finalization of the nuclear deal.
September 30, 2007: Israel submits proposal to Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for new guidelines permitting the international transfer of nuclear technology to states that have not signed nonproliferation agreements. This proposal is criteria-based, rather than country specific. The United States rejects this proposal.
October 2007: Opposition parties in India, including the Communists and the BJP delay the start of India-IAEA safeguard negotiations, as the Communists threaten to withdraw from Prime Minister Singh’s coalition government if negotiations proceed.
October 2007: Indian officials state that the 123 agreement does not limit India’s right to conduct nuclear tests.
October 4, 2007: Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL.) and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) introduce H. Res. 711, non-binding resolution urging the NSG to adopt clear provisions on cutting off trade to India if India tests a nuclear weapon.
October 5, 2007: India test fires a short range version of the Agni-I, its most powerful of nuclear-capable missile.
October 9-11, 2007: IAEA General Director Mohammed ElBaradei visits India. He is expected to meet with the Indian Department of Atomic Energy (DEA), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other political leaders.
October 16, 2007: Russian nuclear power plant builder Atomstroyexport announces it will accelerate work at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant construction site.
October 23, 2007: Indian Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram says he “remains committed” to a plan to build an oil and gas pipeline to Iran and calls it “completely doable.” He adds “we should do it – Iran has the gas and we need the gas.”
October 25, 2007: Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns says on NPR interview that the United States would have the “right”, the “opportunity” to cut off nuclear trade with India if India conducts a nuclear weapon test, but suggests it would not necessarily be required to do so.
November 7, 2007: A Canadian foreign affairs report states that Canada will pursue nuclear co-operation with India if the NSG exempts India from its guidelines.
Mid-Nov.2007: Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting. The NSG does not formally consider changing its international guidelines to allow an exception for India as opposition in India has halted negotiations.
November 21, 2007: India’s government begins talks with the IAEA after conceding to the communist parties that it would not enter agreement with the IAEA without prior approval.
November 21, 2007: China indicates it will not oppose the US-India nuclear deal.
November 27, 2007: British High Commissioner Richard Stagg states that Britain backs the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying "Britain is keen to see the deal conclude."
November 28, 2007: Opposition to the nuclear deal continues in the Indian Parliament. Rupchand Pal, a communist party M, pleaded wit PM Singh: "Please take the sense of the house, don't proceed further, because a majority of this sovereign house is against this."
November 30, 2007: EU leaders meet in India to discuss nuclear cooperation and concerns about the impact on nuclear non-proliferation efforts.
December 2007: IAEA Board of Governors meeting. The Board’s approval of the safeguard India’s safeguards will be necessary for the nuclear deal to move forward in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) the U.S. Congress.
2007: Three unsafeguarded military reactors, Kaiga-3, Kaiga-4, Tarapur-3, are to become operational in 2007. Another reactor, Rajasthan-5, may also escape the safeguards regime.
Early 2008: If India makes substantial progress on its safeguards agreement with the IAEA (which India insists must be “India-specific”), and the NSG changes its international guidelines to allow nuclear trade with India, the 123 agreement will be submitted to both the House and the Senate for a vote. The Administration is pushing for an early 2008 vote.
Spring 2008: Construction will be completed on Rajasthan-6, another potentially unsafeguarded nuclear reactor, by 2008.
2010: India plans to complete its Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) by 2010. This reactor will allow India to greatly increase its production of weapons-grade material.