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Reading academics head analysis of Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between the United States and India

Dr Robert Barnidge, School of Law

Dr Robert Barnidge, School of Law

Dr Robert Barnidge of the School of Law, along with Drs. James Green and Anne Thies and Prof. Sandeep Gopalan (now of NUI Maynooth), is leading an important three year project with the Dr Ambedkar Law University, Chennai, India, that is analysing relevant legal issues related to a recent nuclear cooperation agreement between the United States and India.

Known as the 123 Agreement, the aim of this treaty is to facilitate the exchange of civil nuclear technology between the two countries. 

The 123 Agreement was signed by the United States and India in 2008 to put into action the Joint Statement by United States President George W. Bush and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 whereby India agreed to separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities and place the former under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards. 

The 123 Agreement is exceptional in that it goes against the grain of several decades of United States non-proliferation practice and implicitly recognises India's status as a nuclear weapons state.

On 16-17 September, the University of Reading, in association with the Dr Ambedkar Law University held its second of three workshops to examine various issues arising from the 123 Agreement. 

The workshop took place at the School of Law and involved scholars and students from South Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States.  Panellists addressed such issues as the 123 Agreement's implications for human rights, international trade law, and international environmental law. 

Through three workshops taking place in Reading and India, a dedicated website, publication of a selection of the workshop proceedings in hard copy form, and a collaborative teaching element, this three year project is providing an opportunity to analyse relevant issues and is giving a legal perspective to the politicised nature of the debate in South Asia. It has been generously funded by the British Academy under its UK-South Asia Partnership Scheme. 

For more information about the project, please visit

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