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N-deal unlikely before Bush's visit: National Security Adviser
December 24, 2005 16:27 IST
India on Saturday said it was hopeful that many contentious issues on the nuclear deal with the US will be resolved before President George W Bush's visit early in 2006.
New Delhi is also expecting Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, who held talks with his American interlocutors in Washington, to bring a draft legislation that the US will present to Congress for its approval of the July 18 understanding reached between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bush.
"If both sides are reasonably satisfied with this as also certain changes and guidelines of Nuclear Suppliers Group, it is possible to move forward," National Security Adviser M K Narayanan told NDTV.
During Dr Singh's visit to Washington in July, the US had implicitly recognised India as a nuclear weapon state and agreed to supply fuel for Tarapore reactors following a series of commitments by India, including the one that it will separate civilian and military nuclear facilities.
The understanding had signaled a major gain for India, which has been having difficulties getting external supply of nuclear fuel ever since the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests.
Asked whether India saw the US legislation coming through before Bush's visit, Narayanan, observing that there was a Congressional recess coming up, said, "No, I don't think it will happen before President Bush comes to India."
The safeguard that applies to the civilian sector of the strategic programme will be completed based on it, Narayanan said.
Roadblocks for the deal: