Amid n-deal uncertainty, Manmohan heads to White House

September 25th, 2008 - 8:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew York, Sep 25 (IANS) Amid the last-minute suspense about the fate of the India-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - who turns 76 Friday - headed to Washington for a meeting with US President George Bush, a day-long trip that will be keenly watched in many world capitals. Manmohan Singh’s visit comes amid last-ditch efforts by the Bush administration to push the Congress to approve the landmark nuclear deal that could enable resumption of nuclear commerce between India and the US.

Bush will host a working dinner for in the Old Family Dining Room in the White House - a gesture that underscores warming ties between the two democracies.

This will be his second meeting with Bush since they last met in July in Hokkaido in Japan on the sidelines of the G8 summit.

A key US Senate panel Tuesday voted 19-2 to approve the 123 bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact, setting the stage for fast-tracking the approval for the nuclear deal.

Hours before he arrived here Tuesday, Manmohan Singh had said he was hopeful of wrapping up the nuclear deal during his four-day US visit.

Manmohan Singh has invested enormous political capital in the much-debated nuclear deal and had even risked his government for the sake of the deal in July.

If the US Congress, preoccupied with the worst-ever financial meltdown in decades, fails to approve the deal this week, Manohan Singh is sure to feel disappointed. “In politics, one has to learn how to deal with disappointments,” Manmohan Singh had said hours before he landed in New York.

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