Washington: Soon after signing the landmark US-India 123 Agreement along with his US counterpart, secretary of state Condoleezza Rice at a special ceremony in Washington on Friday afternoon, Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee clarified that all Indian concerns had been met, including assurances of nuclear fuel supply.
In this regard, Mukherjee said the historic 123 Agreement reflects a "careful balance of rights and obligations".
"If you go through the text of the agreement, it has entrusted responsibilities and obligations on both sides," Mukherjee said in response to a question.
"In my observation, I have pointed out that there is the balance between the obligations and the rights, which we will comply with. Text of 123 provides the fuel supply agreement to India and it has been reiterated by the president's signing statement," Mukherjee said.
In his speech at the agreement signing ceremony, and also subsequently at a press conference, Mukherjee reiterated that India was bound to comply only with the text of 123 Agreement and was not bound to any other legislation. "We are bound by the agreed text of the 123 Agreement, which is negotiated by the negotiators of the two countries and it is on the basis of the joint statement issued by president Bush and the prime minister on 18th July 2005 and also the joint statement of 2006," Mukherjee said.
When queried about the various interpretations of the agreement, as well as the Bill, being bandied about in both the US and India, Mukherjee said: "It is not a question of the interpretation; it is the question of the agreed text on which we have signed."
He pointed out that assurances on fuel supply were provided in the text of the 123 Agreement.
Stating that both countries "trust each other" Mukherjee also said, "We intend to implement this agreement in good faith and in accordance with the principles of international law and I am confident that the US will also do the same."
For good measure Mukherjee also asserted that the agreement's "…provisions are now legally binding on both sides once the agreement enters into force." This would address the interpretation floated by the American side that commitments made under the 123 Agreement were 'political' commitments and were not legally enforceable.