Bush calls Manmohan, discusses n-deal strategy

July 25th, 2008 - 12:52 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Washington/New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) Two days after the Indian government won a trust vote in parliament, US President George W. Bush Thursday telephoned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the next steps required to make the landmark nuclear deal operational. Bush congratulated Manmohan Singh on winning the trust vote in parliament Tuesday and lauded his government’s decision to fast-track the nuclear deal, government sources said in New Delhi.

There was, however, no statement from the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi about the conversation between Bush and Manmohan Singh.

“Both leaders expressed their desire to see the US-India civil nuclear issue move forward as expeditiously as possible,” US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement in Washington.

Bush told Singh “he looks forward to continuing to work with his government to strengthen the United States-India strategic relationship”, Johndroe said.

The two leaders are also understood to have discussed the need to revive the stalled World Trade Organization talks.

The US is planning to call a meeting of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group early next month after the 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) takes a decision on approving the India-specific safeguards pact at its meeting Aug 1.

The US is keen to complete the NSG process by August so that the 123 agreement can be presented to the US Congress early September for its endorsement.

India and the US will then sign the 123 agreement to make the nuclear deal operational which will restore global nuclear commerce with New Delhi after nearly three decades.

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