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Civil, military N-facilities have to be separated: Burton
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November 28, 2005 15:43 IST

The United States Congress would support the Indo-US nuclear deal provided India worked out a definite separation of its military and civilian facilities, US Congressman Dan Burton said in New Delhi [Images] on Monday.

"I am leaning towards the nuclear agreement (signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and US President George W Bush [Images] on July 18)," Burton, who is heading a Congressional delegation to India, told reporters.

'Indo-US nuclear deal a complicated process'

"But we want a definite separation between civilian and military (components of India's nuclear programme). If that is
assured, I am quite sure it will be addressed," he said on the sidelines of a meeting with delegates of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Singh and Bush had signed a path-breaking agreement in Washington on July 18 under which the US implicitly recognised India as a nuclear weapons state and agreed to supply fuel for Tarapore reactors following a series of commitments by New Delhi, including that of separating civilian and military facilities.

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The Republican Congressman from Indiana, who has often been called an India baiter, said he was aware of his image which is why he chose to lead this delegation.

"Everyone in the US agrees that this is a good time to talk to India," he said.

Burton, who will meet the prime minister, made it clear that he would raise the issues of Kashmir, nuclear proliferation and alleged human rights violations with Dr Singh.

Indo-US N-deal will trigger Asian arms race

"We are glad that the Dr Singh and (Pakistan) President Pervez Musharraf [Images] are working out differences. But we still have differences on some issues, we will talk to the prime minister about these," Burton said.

On the issue of outsourcing of jobs to India, which has caused much heartburn in the US, Burton said both governments had to work together to convince Americans that even they would be benefitted by the trend.

"We have to admit that there is a great fear about loss of jobs (in the US). There has to be a real perception that outsourcing is not one-way. The people have to be convinced that outsourcing will result in more jobs eventually," he said.

Complete Coverage: PM's visit to the US

While the task of educating the people had to be done on a government-to-government basis, industry associations could also play an important role by undertaking public relations exercises, he suggested.

"You can help us convince the people back home," he said.     

The delegation led by Burton on a three-day visit to India includes Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, Congressman Al Green, Congressman Steven Pearce, Congressman Joe Wilson, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy and Congresswoman Loreta Sanchez.

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