The deal agreed last month aims to lift a US embargo on the transfer of nuclear fuel and technology to India for civilian purposes.

However, in a statement released on Monday, the Indian foreign ministry said the latest draft version of the agreement provided by Washington includes a clause that would cancel the deal if India conducted further nuclear tetsts.

"India has already conveyed to the US that such a provision has no place in the proposed bilateral agreement," the foreign ministry said.

"India is bound only by what is contained in the July 18 joint statement, that is, continuing its commitment to a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing."

This July 18 statement refers to the initial agreement in principle on the deal reached when Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, visited Washington last year.

Explosions

New Delhi has refused to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), calling it discriminatory, but it did announce a unilateral suspension on nuclear testing in 1998 after it conducted a series of underground atomic explosions.

India's 1998 nuclear tests were quickly matched by rival Pakistan in a series of tit-for-tat blasts, sharply raising tensions on the subcontinent and heightening fears of a possible nuclear war over disputed Kashmir.

Under the deal, which must be approved by the US Congress, energy-hungry India would receive US nuclear technology, including reactors and nuclear fuel.

In return India agrees to separate its military and civilian nuclear facilities and open up some atomic plants to international inspections.
   
But India has already stated before that the pact would not limit its nuclear weapons programme.

Some analysts believe Washington has been manoeuvring to get India to commit indirectly to the CTBT, through the clause on discontinuing nuclear cooperation if New Delhi tested a device again.