Among these, the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative has garnered the greatest attention. The United States and India share three objectives in undertaking this initiative: to remove core differences that impeded our strategic relationship for more than 30 years, to support India’s economic growth and energy security in an environmentally sound way, and to strengthen the global nonproliferation regime.

On July 18, 2005, the U.S. and India announced the launch of the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative. Under the parameters of this initiative, India will commit all of its civilian nuclear facilities to IAEA safeguards. On August 1, 2008 the IAEA Board of Governors approved India’s safeguards agreement, paving the way for India’s consideration at the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Currently, the United States is seeking a Nuclear Suppliers Group exemption in order to permit trade with India's expanding peaceful nuclear sector. The accompanying agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation will permit American and Indian companies to partner together in ways that will foster growth in India’s civil nuclear sector, create a clean energy source which will benefit the environment, and will offer India greater energy security with stable sources of energy for its large and growing economy.

As part of the overall initiative, India will expand international safeguards, adhere to international nuclear and missile export guidelines, continue its voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing, and ensure that all civil nuclear trade will be used only for peaceful purposes. Because India will place a greater number of its reactors under safeguards, it reduces the nuclear infrastructure available for its weapons program. These commitments constitute significant gains for global nonproliferation efforts.