Indian officials” clear air on nuke deal ahead of Bush-Manmohan talks

September 23rd, 2008 - 12:29 am ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh

Onboard Air India One, Sept.22 (ANI): Key Indian Government officials traveling with the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, to New York to attend the 62 session of the U.N. General Assembly, said on Monday that if the United States failed to deliver regular nuclear fuel supply as per the agreed text of the 123 agreement, then Washington could not legally prevent New Delhi from approaching other countries such as Russia and France for nuclear fuel.

Seeking to douse the anxiety in Indian political and scientific circles about President George W. Bush’’s letter to Congress that uninterrupted fuel supply is a political and not a legal commitment, the officials told ANI that neither could Washington legally prevent Moscow or Paris from offering the same to New Delhi, though politically it could influence the course of events connected to this crucial issue.

According to US media reports, Bush had in a letter to the U.S. Congress had also said that the United States would not transfer sensitive technologies to India. But an authoritative Indian Government source said “there are some high end technologies which the United States will not even give to even their closest allies”.

While many former diplomats and opposition parties, including the Left, which recently withdrew support from the UPA Government, are out with their knives and blaming the UPA for a sell out to the United States , the UPA Government is convinced that India has safeguarded its national and security-related interests that exist in the agreement.

The historic agreement between the two countries is awaiting ratification in the Congress, and there are expectations that the US-India civil nuclear agreement will reach finally reach fruition after more than three years.

Dr. Singh and President Bush are scheduled to meet at the White House on September 25 and the US Congress may in all probability clear the agreed text on September 26.

However, Indian negotiators involved in the process feel that recent Wall Street meltdown has diverted the focus of the U.S. Congress and may delay the ratification of the agreement, thus pushing it into the lame duck session.

Latest reports suggest that the Business Committee of the US Congress will be meeting on Tuesday to discuss the agenda to be followed for ratifying the US-India nuclear deal. (ANI)

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