US committed to Indo-US nuclear deal | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 13, 2008

US committed to Indo-US nuclear deal

Maintaining that it is committed to the Indo-US nuclear deal, the US on Thursday sought to push the ball into India's court saying it was for the country's leadership to decide on the pact.
However, the US expressed confidence that the deal could be concluded in the near future in realisation of the Congressional time lines.
"... This administration has been firm in its support for this -- this deal. It continues to be so. Right now we're at a situation where this is with the Indian government and literally with the Indian people. This is a matter for them to decide and then follow through with," acting Spokesman Gonzolo Gallegos replied when asked if the Initiative is "close to dead".
"We consistently stated that we stand behind this, that we continue to support it, and that we would like to move apace in terms of proceeding with it," he added.
"I think, however, there's -- you know, the bottom line is, is a reality of the congressional calendar that has to be dealt with. We do hope that can continue and possibly conclude this in the near future," he said.
Asked whether the deal can be formalised before the end of the Bush administration the official replied, "I would be the last one -- if my boss and my boss's boss are loathe to commit to date, I fear it even more than they do".
Meanwhile, despite a fresh appeal from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take forward the India-US civil nuclear deal, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Thursday asserted that there would not be any change in its opposition to the contentious agreement."Manmohan Singh has reiterated the known position of the prime minister and his government and we reiterate our own position," CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury told reporters in New Delhi.
"We believe that the 123 agreement (with Washington) is not in the interest of our country," Yechury said.
The CPI-M-led Left parties, which prop up Manmohan Singh's coalition government, have been opposing the nuclear agreement saying that it would damage the country's indigenous nuclear programme.
Although the Communists have allowed the government to go ahead with negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on an India-specific safeguard agreement, they have refused to let it finalise the pact.
On Wednesday, Manmohan Singh made a strong pitch for the deal.
Talking to Indian Foreign Service probationers here, he said the agreement would end "nuclear apartheid" India has faced since its first nuclear test in 1974 and "open up new possibilities of cooperation with other nuclear powers like Russia and France",
The Communists rejected that too.
Asked if the Left would change its stance and allow the government to finalise the IAEA negotiations if the government decided to forego the 123 agreement, Yechury said: "Let the government come out with such a proposal. Our problem is not with the safeguard agreement."

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