US warns clock ticking on nuclear deal with India

April 4th, 2008 - 7:18 am ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
Washington, April 4 (DPA) The US said Thursday that time is running out to complete the nuclear deal with India under the Bush administration and signalled the issue may have to be revisited by the next US president. US State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said the window for the US Congress to consider the deal by the end of this year was narrowing because of the political deadlock in India, but said the Bush administration remained committed to seeing the deal through.

“Time is running out to be able to give this current Congress the opportunity to consider this arrangement,” Casey said.

“Obviously, though, there would be opportunities in future Congresses and with the future administration to move forward on this, but certainly we can only talk for ourselves and this administration in terms of this arrangement,” he added.

President George W. Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inked the agreement in 2006 that allows the US to sell nuclear technology and material to India for nuclear energy, and the two sides have since worked through complex negotiations to implement the deal.

But the communist members of Singh’s governing coalition have threatened to scuttle the deal, arguing that India’s sovereignty will be compromised because the agreement requires India to open its civilian nuclear programme to international inspections.

“We do, though, respect the fact that there are still issues that the Indian political system needs to work through,” Casey said. “And that’s been the case for a while. But we certainly hope we can get there.”

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