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'Indo-US nuke deal not handled as well it should have been'

September 13, 2011 10:10 IST
The India-United States civil nuclear deal inked during Bush Administration has not been handled as well it should have been by the US, a key Republican lawmaker has said.

"Nuclear agreement that we have reached, there was a whole lot of criticism of that; lost in that was the importance of what I just said about the relationship with India. This was a positive way to work with them, to show some progress," said Congressman Adam Smith, ranking member of House Armed Services Committee.

"I don't think we handled that as well as we should. I think we have to do a better job of maintaining and building up a stronger relationship with India.

"They're going to be an incredibly powerful regional and global player for a long time to come," Smith said in response to a question after his address on 'US Commitment to Asia' hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

Smith said, India was enormously important, and he would like to have a more positive relation with the country.

"I think we have a positive relationship; I don't think we do as much with India as we should. Diplomatically, military-to-military, in a variety of different ways, I think there are enormous opportunities for us to build a stronger relationship with India," the Congressman said. India, he noted, has not been as active a regional power as China.

"They haven't been regional -- global, at this point; I mean, China is everywhere -- Latin America, Africa. You know, India, while they have grown significantly economically, they've kept it more internal," he said.

"I still think they're going to be incredibly important player. You know, largest democracy in the world... we have a lot in common, and I think we need to work hard to build in that relationship," he said adding that there have been hiccups through the years.

"Certainly, the situation in Pakistan and Afghanistan has given pause on occasion. But we have so much in common, so many opportunities to work together. I think we need to really focus more on India," Smith said.  

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