Bush calls it ‘a big deal’ as he signs law (Lead)

October 9th, 2008 - 2:01 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghWashington, Oct 9 (IANS) US President George W. Bush has signed the enabling law on the India-US civil nuclear deal making clear there would be no change in the implementing 123 agreement including the US commitment on nuclear fuel assurances.“This is a big deal,” said Bush as he signed the “H.R. 7081, the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act” at 2:34 p.m. Wednesday (00:04 a.m. Thursday India time) in the East Room of the White House, which has witnessed many a historic event.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Indian Ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen were among a select gathering witnessing the president sign the historic law that would allow resumption of nuclear commerce between the two countries after three decades.

Also attending were prominent members of the Indian-American community, captains of industry, lawmakers, diplomats and officials, who played a major role in getting the deal through the Congress in less than a month after the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) gave India a waiver on nuclear trade.

With the enabling law in place, Rice and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee are expected to formally ink the 123 agreement here in a couple of days to give effect to the landmark accord, envisioned by Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 18, 2005.

No official announcement has been made in either country, but a highly placed official source told IANS in New Delhi that “The 123 pact will be signed Friday afternoon or Saturday morning.”

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