Rice to visit India Oct 3 to wrap up n-deal

September 27th, 2008 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew York, Sep 27 (IANS) With the nuclear deal poised to get the Congressional nod in a day or two, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is readying to visit India Oct 3 to seal the landmark deal. Rice will hold talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on a wide spectrum of bilateral issues, and the discussions are expected to lay down an ambitious plan for expanding India-US ties after the nuclear deal.

Mukherjee will host a formal dinner for Rice at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, an official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.

Mukherjee will arrive here to attend meetings related to the foreign ministerial segment of the UN General Assembly. He is likely to meet Rice and other top US officials.

While no formal decision has been taken on who will sign the 123 agreement, there are strong indications that Mukherjee and Rice will do the honours.

It may also be signed at the level of the chiefs of the departments of atomic energy.

The US House of Representatives is set to vote on the nuclear deal Saturday. The House Friday postponed a vote on the landmark accord after a spirited 40-minute debate.

Rice could not make it to an exclusive dinner Bush hosted for Manmohan Singh and his close aides Thursday at the Old Family Dining Room in the White House as she was working overtime to swing Democrats to expedite the Congressional approval for the civilian nuclear agreement.

The Bush administration is also working overtime to ensure that the India nuclear accord is wrapped up by the time Manmohan Singh concludes his five-day visit to the US later Saturday.

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