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50:50 chance on N-deal, US politician tells Deora
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | September 12, 2008 13:10 IST
Mcdermott told Deora he felt the deal had "a 50-50 chance."
"But what I know it's with a great deal of pleasure that we see this kind of agreement worked out. Now, we have to look at it and see, is it good for us, is it good for India, and if it is, I think the votes will be there to pass it," McDermott said, speaking at a conference organized by the US-India Business Alliance and the Congressional Task Force on US-India Trade on Capitol Hill.
Earlier, McDermott had said "there isn't anybody here who really knows what's going to happen, and I think it is important to say at the outset that if it doesn't pass in the short-term future, that is not a reflection of America's attitudes toward India. The strong relationship between our countries is going to be there absolutely�with or without this formal agreement. It's not the be-all and the end-all of the world."
McDermott said, "It should be understood that we are in the middle of a presidential election. I've watched enough elections in India to know that when an election comes up, everything stops, nothing gets done in Parliament, the Lok Sabha or anything else while people figure out exactly who's going to be the next government and who's going to be the prime minister and the rest.The same is true in the United States."
Wilson, in his missive wrote, "The US and India were estranged for too long during the Cold War. With the opening of India's economy to the West and a vibrant Indian American community reshaping America's image in India, our relationship has dramatically changed," and he went on to describe everything from US business investment in India, joint military exercises and Indian students filling American colleges and universities.
"Americans have embraced Indian food, yoga, and South Asian culture. Indians watch American television, listen to our music and watch our movies. Polls consistently show Indians with very high favorable views of America and vice versa. Our two countries have grown closer based on shared values of democracy, freedom, religious pluralism, and belief in free markets."
Wilson, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, argued that "India has an excellent record on nonproliferation and its nuclear weapons program is solely designed as a deterrent, based on India's own legitimate security assessments."
He said, "Although some in the nonproliferation community have raised objections to this agreement, every single contention they make can be refuted. Further, they blur the distinction between the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the possession of them. To them, India's possession of nuclear weapons makes it just as guilty as Iran, which is trying to acquire such weapons to threaten its neighbors and destabilize the Middle East."
Wilson impressed upon his colleagues that "this agreement takes a realistic assessment of India's nuclear weapons program and enhances international nonproliferation efforts by working with the IAEA and a country we can trust."
"India has had four nuclear reactors under International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards for decades, and 14 of their 22 reactors will be under permanent safeguards under this agreement. This agreement will create American jobs, burn less fossil fuels, grow our economies, enhance mutual trust, and greatly develop our strategic relationship with India. I urge your support of this historic agreement," Wilson said.
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