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No progess made on Indo-US nuclear deal
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | December 23, 2005 10:16 IST
Last Updated: December 23, 2005 11:54 IST
The two-day meet between Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and United States Under Secretary for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns concluded without India providing any clear-cut list for separation of civilian and military facilities to the US.
The Bush Administration also did not get any ironclad guarantees vis-à-vis full-scope safeguards on the military facilities, which it could have used to get Congress approval for the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Senior administration officials and diplomatic sources told rediff.com that such a clear-cut list or plan will involve several more discussions, including when Burns visits India in January for the next meeting of the Joint Working Group on Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation.
Thus, both sides asserted that the focus of the meeting was primarily to prepare for Bush's forthcoming India visit.
They also put a strong spin on the discussions and declared significant progress was made towards the implementation of the nuclear deal.
Before Saran left for New Delhi, the media continued to quiz him on the fact that the administration needs a credible plan from India to show Congress, which says it's still waiting to see the proposal before it can even consider whether to approve a change in US laws.
In reply, Saran said, "Both the US as well as India are conscious of the time line with respect to the implementation of this agreement, and we have exchanged ideas on the implementation of the July 18 agreement."
Meanwhile, asked whether Bush's India will be postponed if the deal runs into trouble, State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said he had not heard 'any talk of postponing the visit.'
"We haven't set the dates on it yet, so you can't postpone something that hasn't been set yet. I don't think anybody's thinking about really pushing it off."
Roadblocks for the deal: