Seeking broadest possible consensus on n-deal: PM

March 5th, 2008 - 4:13 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday said his government was seeking the “broadest possible consensus” on the India-US nuclear deal, which continues to be opposed by the Left allies. The government will seek the “broadest possible consensus” to enable the next steps required to complete the nuclear deal, Manmohan Singh said in the Lok Sabha.

As the clock ticks away for the nuclear deal, the government is engaged in a last-ditch effort to persuade Left parties who have opposed the deal on the grounds that it will make India subservient to US strategic interests.

India has nearly completed its draft pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has to be approved by the Left allies before the government can proceed with the deal.

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher Wednesday reminded India about a “very tight deadline” for completing the nuclear deal which he stressed was good for India, the US and non-proliferation.

Boucher also underlined the need for concluding the next two steps - India’s IAEA pact and a change in guidelines by the Nuclear Suppliers Group - by May so that the deal can be ratified by the US Congress by July.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Monday said the government was trying to build “broad political consensus” on the deal, which will open doors of civil nuclear commerce also with other countries like Russia and France.

“We will continue to seek broad political consensus within the country to take forward our engagement on this issue with other countries,” Mukherjee said in a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha.

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