Ackerman, PM discuss progress of n-deal

July 4th, 2008 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) US Congressman Gary Ackerman met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday and underscored the need to put the stalled civilian nuclear deal on fast track so that it is endorsed by US Congress before September. Ackerman, Democratic co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans, met Manmohan Singh at his 7 Race Course residence and discussed India-US relations, including the controversial nuclear deal.

Manmohan Singh told Ackerman about his government’s efforts to mobilise a political consensus to push the deal forward but did not indicate a timeline for concluding the safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), official sources said.

Ackerman conveyed to the prime minister imperatives of the Congressional calendar, saying the presidential elections in November will make it difficult for the US Congress to endorse the deal after September, the sources said.

Ackerman also brought up Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The prime minister reiterated New Delhi’s commitment to the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline as well as the country’s multi-dimensional relations with Iran, the sources said.

The US Congress is likely to adjourn in September for the November presidential elections, Ackerman said Thursday after meeting Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and also Shyam Saran, the Indian prime minister’s special envoy on the nuclear deal.

The Left parties have asked the Indian government to make it clear by Monday if it was seeking the approval of the IAEA’s board of governors for the India-specific safeguards agreement.

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