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N-deal: US wasn't sure till last moment
Sridhar Krishnaswamy in Washington | March 08, 2006 03:08 IST
The United States was not sure until the very last minute whether a civilian nuclear energy deal with India was going to be possible and if a "good deal" was not on the cards, Washington was going to walk away from it.
Such details of the last-minute parleys that culminated in the signing of the historic Indo-US civil nuclear agreement by US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi were revealed tonight by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns.
"We weren`t sure. We weren`t sure," he told CBS channel's 'Charlie Rose' show tonight, "because we had very clear instructions from President Bush and Secretary (of State Condoleezza) Rice, and that is, if you can get a good deal, get that deal. But if the deal doesn`t measure up, we will walk away from it."
"And so actually, until the very last moment, we had negotiations the evening that President Bush arrived in India until 1:00 in the morning. We got up early the next morning and had a couple of more hours with the Indians. And Steve Hadley, our national security adviser and I, put our positions forward, but weren`t sure it was going to end up in a deal."
Did President Bush agree to the deal because he was so interested in the strategic initiative with India, Burns was asked. "You know, it`s interesting. International politics sometimes comes down to two things. The importance of having a deadline. And the President and Prime Minister walking into a room to start a meeting was our deadline."