Mulford meets Narayanan on eve of crucial nuke talks

June 24th, 2008 - 10:01 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) As the Manmohan Singh government tries to evolve a consensus among its allies and the Left parties on the nuclear deal, US ambassador to India David Mulford met National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan here Tuesday. Though the details of the meeting were not immediately known, the discussion between the two could have been on the fate of the India-US nuclear deal.

Asked to comment on meeting, the US embassy spokesman said, “We don’t comment on the ambassador’s meetings.”

The guarded response could well be understood given the delicate stage of the nuclear deal at the moment.

Any comment from the US on Mulford-Narayanan meeting, especially since it comes on the eve of the crucial discussions between the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and the Left parties that are opposed to the deal, scheduled for Wednesday, could sway the mood against the nuclear agreement further.

US President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of a G-8 meeting in Tokyo early next month. The two leaders are expected to discuss, among other things, how the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement could be taken forward.

The Left parties have threatened to withdraw support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government if it decides to go ahead and sign a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - a step necessary to make the nuclear deal operational.

As the prime minister is keen to push it through, the UPA allies and the Congress leadership are now trying to find a way out of the stalemate.

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