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Indian Americans can push N-deal through: Sibal
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | April 10, 2006 09:52 IST
Last Updated: April 10, 2006 10:55 IST
Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who is visiting Washington for a series of meetings with senior Bush administration officials and US lawmakers, has said that the Indian American community's role is imperative to persuade Congress to approve the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.
Complete Coverage: Indo-US Nuclear Tango
Sibal, in an interaction with the press in his hotel suite at the Williard Intercontinental in Washington, said he had also been talking to the Indian American community in Washington and that they had an exceptionally important role to play in this whole enterprise.
"And therefore, I have been urging them to use all their might and use all possible means - only fair, not foul - to ensure that this deal goes through," he noted.
Sibal, who also delivered a lecture to the Council on Foreign Relations and met members of the US-India Business Council besides engaging in a meeting of the High Technology Consultative Group, added: "I can assure you that the Indian American community's response has been hugely encouraging and I am very happy to note that."
Earlier, addressing the Washington chapter of the Overseas National Congress, Sibal told several leading Indian American community leaders: "You are in a sense, achievers, creators of wealth, creators of knowledge, and you have done us proud. And you have a very important role to play at this end by convincing the American people as to how important this relationship is to the rest of the world."
During his press interaction, Sibal said what he gathered from his meetings with US officials and lawmakers, was that at the official level the nuclear deal had support. "We have at this moment, a bipartisan support base in the United States of America," he said.
"You have a lot of Democrats who have come out openly in support the deal. You saw Senator Joe Biden (the ranking Democrat on the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee) support the deal at the Committee hearing (where Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified). I think we are going to get bipartisan support," he added.
"My trip was planned a long time ago. It happens sometimes that you are at the right place at the right time. And since, I am already here and since this issue is up for public debate, in the course of my interaction and wherever I speak, this naturally comes up," the minister said.
Sibal said he had not been subjected to any 'hostile questioning' or experienced any negative feedback during his meetings with the US lawmakers. "I have to say that the questioning so far has not been hostile, but certainly seeking explanations on doubts that people might have."
"I am happy that people have asked questions and I can say with some level of confidence that as I move forward and explain some of the issues and what this deal means, people have gone back totally satisfied," he added.