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US official Boucher in Delhi to discuss N-deal
November 09, 2006 17:54 IST
In the aftermath of the American Congressional polls, India and the United States will have high-level discussions on the future of the civil nuclear deal, when visiting Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher meets officials on Friday.
Boucher is expected to hold talks with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and meet External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The two sides are likely to have deliberations on the fate of a legislation on the civil nuclear deal that is yet to be considered by the US Senate.
Uncertainty has surrounded the bill as the Republicans have lost majority in the Senate in the Congressional elections held on Wednesday. Besides this, the issue of terrorism is expected to figure in the discussions.
The two sides are also expected to discuss issues relating to the region, including developments in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Boucher will also travel to Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan before returning next week to attend the Regional Economic Cooperation Conference in New Delhi on November 17-18.
Boucher's visit follows a trip by a delegation of US experts to hold discussions on the proposed 123 Bilateral Agreement.
The experts, comprising officials from various US departments like gefence, legal, nuclear and the National Security Council, held deliberations with their Indian counterparts over the last three days, US Ambassador David C Mulford told reporters on Thursday.
"They had meaningful and positive talks," he added.
The discussions centred around the issues thrown up by the complexity of the processes involved, Mulford said.
To a question, he said negotiations on the 123 Agreement, which is an operational reflection of the civil nuclear agreement, will pick up after the legislation on the issue is passed by the Congress.
"Till now, the shape of the final legislation is not clear. After the Congress acts, the pace on 123 Agreement will pick up," he said.