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Capitol Hill upheaval won't affect Indo-US ties: Inderfurth
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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November 09, 2006 09:56 IST

The political upheaval in the Capitol Hill is unlikely to effect a change in the bilateral ties between India and the United States and will not affect the civil nuclear deal as it enjoys bipartisan support, a former senior administrator has said.

"Since President Bill Clinton's [Images] administration there has been a strong bipartisan support for strengthening the Indo-US ties and that will not change with the political upheaval in Capitol Hill," said Karl Inderfurth, former Assistant Secretary of State (South Asia) in the Clinton administration.

Inderfurth, currently at the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University, said the Democrats were 'very supportive' of Clinton's view on India and Bush has continued in building the new relationship and that includes the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

"This election was about Iraq, not about India and that is the most fundamental point. It was a referendum on Bush's conduct of the war in Iraq and American people said change directions," Inderfurth told PTI over phone.

He said it will be up to the White House to determine whether or not that the civilian nuclear deal would be one of the highest priorities during the Lame Duck session.

"They have a lot of appropriation bills that have to be addressed and passed. It is going to be a crowded agenda. The question is whether or not the White House decides this deal is a top priority or whether it should go over to the next session of Congress," he said.

"I think either way it will go through successfully in the Senate; it has already been passed by the House. The advantage of doing this now is that it gets that first step in the process completed," Inderfurth said.

He also rejected notions that complications will set in if the nuclear deal does not get through the Lame Duck session.

"It does not create that many complications because the decisions and votes have already been taken indicating strong support," he added.

Inderfurth argued that the Democrats in the 110th Congress will be more forceful with the administration on Afghanistan and will demand a broader approach in dealing with Pakistan over and beyond the current one-dimensional focus on the anti-terrorism front.

On Pakistan, he said the Democrats will call for the administration to have a more comprehensive approach.

"There has been a feeling that the Bush administration has had a one-dimensional approach towards Pakistan, which is as an ally in the war on terror. Democrats support that but believe that there is more to Pakistan than the war on terror and one thing in that regard is democracy and the National Elections to be held in 2007.

"I think there will be more emphasis on the broad relationship with Pakistan than that we have seen. Democrats will be saying what we can do to see Pakistan return to a democratic footing to achieve what President Pervez Musharraf [Images] has called a real democracy," he added.

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