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N-deal: Saran out to convince US lawmakers
March 30, 2006 01:06 IST
On a visit aimed at pushing forward the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran on Wednesday began discussions with the Bush administration officials on next steps on the agreement clinched earlier this month.
Saran, who arrived in Washington on Tuesday evening, held talks with US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns and other State Department officials over lunch. Earlier, they met at a dinner hosted by Burns on Tuesday night.
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The luncheon meeting assumes significance as it takes place after Burns appeared at a closed-door session with lawmakers on Capitol Hill where he is expected to have answered queries from the Congressmen over the nuclear agreement.
A senior administration official has said repeatedly that several lawmakers have a number of questions on the deal and wanted more details about it. During his three-day stay in Washington, Saran will call on various lawmakers separately to present India's case. Seeking to dispel their apprehensions, he is expected to highlight New Delhi's impeccable record on non-proliferation front.
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He will meet with lawmakers who have been supportive of the deal and members of the India Caucuses in the House of Representatives and Senate. The deal, which was clinched on March 2, is required to be endorsed by the US Congress and hearings on a legislation in this regard have already begun. Saran is also scheduled to meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary of State for Non Proliferation and International Security Robert Joseph and Under Secretary for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky.