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Home > News > Report

PM speaks to President Bush about N-deal

November 16, 2006 16:45 IST
Last Updated: November 16, 2006 18:00 IST

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to US President George W Bush over the telephone on Thursday; they discussed the proposed American legislation on the Indo-US deal for cooperation in civil nuclear energy and other 'current matters'.

"The prime minister expressed appreciation for the President's commitment to the passage of the legislation and hoped that the Bill in its final form will accommodate India's stated concerns," Dr Singh's media advisor Sanjaya Baru said in a statement.

The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the state of bilateral relations between India and the US, Dr Baru said.

The conversation lasted about five minutes.

India has said it would walk out of the nuclear deal if the US law deviated from the September 2005 agreement and the separation plan announced by Dr Singh in Parliament.

New Delhi's main concerns relate to a reported move in the US to cap India's nuclear programme to maintain a credible minimum deterrence and subject the deal to an annual clearance from the US Congress.

According to a report from Washington, the US Senate will take up the US-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Bill (S 3709) later on Thursday, after conducting morning business.

Assistant Majority Leader Mitch McConnel, who made this announcement on the Senate floor on Wednesday, said they had reached an agreement to limit their amendments to the bill.

"It is my hope that we will be able to expedite consideration of the final passage on Thursday," he said.

In fact, the Senate had decided to take up the matter on Wednesday, but could not proceed because one of the members insisted on the consideration of an agriculture appropriation bill prior to the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Earlier, Majority Leader Bill Frist had announced that a 'unanimous consent' had already been evolved on how to conduct the debate on the bill.

Eighteen amendments will be moved on the legislation, including two in a closed-door session. Prominent among those who intend to introduce amendments include Senators Barack Obama, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, Tom Harkins, Edward Kennedy and Chris Dodd -- all Democrats.


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