The Bush administration has welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives' approval of a civilian nuclear agreement with India.
White House spokesman Tony Snow said Thursday the vote is an important step in advancing the strategic partnership between the two countries. He said President Bush now encourages the Senate to pass the legislation as soon as possible.
Mr. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed in March on a plan to allow civil nuclear trade with India. The proposal would allow inspections at India's civilian nuclear power plants.
The proposed agreement would allow the United States to resume selling nuclear technology to India. Sales ended in 1974 after India conducted its first nuclear weapons test.
Republicans and Democrats supporting the U.S.-India accord cite what they call significant improvements since the Bush administration originally proposed it. But some legislators say the administration failed to obtain strong enough assurances regarding India's nuclear program and that the deal would undermine the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.