US Republican body backs n-deal with India

September 3rd, 2008 - 4:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Sep 3 (IANS) US Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s platform committee, the primary policy making body of the party, supports the nuclear energy deal between the US and India, an official said.”The platform supports the civilian nuclear deal,” Republican Platform Committee executive director Steven Duffield told IANS late Tuesday during a video conference and web chat from Minnesota, US.

“We have had internal discussions on this,” he said.

He, however, declined to comment on the platform’s position if the signing of the deal spilled over to the next presidential term.

“I am personally not (an) expert in how the timing plays out,” he said from the floor of the 2008 Republican National Convention under way in the twin cities of Minnesota-Saint Paul.

Duffield is an expert in the policies of the Republican Party and is responsible for drafting the Republican political manifesto and getting it approved for adoption by the party.

His comments came ahead of a crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group to discuss a revised draft for lifting the nuclear trade ban on India.

In a posting on its website, the platform committee describes its stand on the deal thus: “We welcome America’s new relationship with India, including the US-India Civil Nuclear Accord. Our common security concerns and shared commitment to political freedom and representative government can be the foundation for an enduring partnership.”

The new platform, which has been noted for its views on the country’s energy policy, was unanimously approved by the 2008 Republican National Convention at its first day Sep 1.

The 112-member 2008 Convention Committee on Resolutions or ‘Platform Committee’ is led by chairman and member of the US House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy and co-chairman Senator Richard Burr.

“This platform is the product of the most open and transparent process in American political history,” McCarthy said after passing the approval for the committee.

The platform is the primary policy formulating body of the party and its views are crucial in the event the Republican Party takes power after the presidential polls.

This year, one of the committee’s major focus areas has been US energy policy because of the global oil crisis.

In the course of the video-conference, Duffield spoke on a number of issues discussed by the platform committee.

To a question whether any energy lobby in corporate America had a say in the platform’s policy formulations, he said: “No corporate or energy lobby played any role on the Republican platform. We just listened to their views. They did not play any informal role in policy making either.”

Tuesday night’s event here was organised by the Dubai Press Club, in association with the Dubai School of Government and the American Center for Press and Cultural Affairs in the United Arab Emirates.

The nearly hour-long video-conference with Duffield was followed by a 30-minute web chat.

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