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Home > News > Report

Certain difficulties have arisen: PM to Bush on N-deal

Indrani Roy Mitra in Abuja, Nigeria | October 15, 2007 23:02 IST

United States President George Bush [Images] called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Monday and discussed issues relating to the India-US civil nuclear agreement and the Doha Round of talks.

The prime minister explained to Bush that certain difficulties have arisen with respect to the operationalisation of the agreement.

This statement by the prime minister almost officially puts the deal on the backburner, which has become a bitter bone of contention between India 's United Progressive Alliance government and its ally, the Left. Just before setting off for a state-visit to Nigeria and South Africa, the prime minister had hinted at such a development by mentioning at a summit, "If the nuclear deal does not come through, it won't be the end of the life."

During the 15-minute conversation, Dr Singh mentioned to President Bush that India remains committed to the successful conclusion of the Doha Round at an early date.

Trade liberalisation has contributed immensely to the growth of the world economy in the last few decades and "it is our duty to the global community -- like everyone else's -- to ensure that the Doha Round too takes us forward on the path of removing barriers to trade," he said.

The prime minister also said that the draft texts in circulation can be the basis for discussions towards an agreed outcome in agriculture and industrial tariffs. Although there are grey areas in the text and specific numbers which need to be agreed upon, the texts give broad indications of the range of possibilities on most issues, he added.

He emphasised that India is comfortable with most of the elements of these texts. It is a reasonable compromise between differing positions of various countries. As is true of any trade deal, it involves give and take by all and India is ready to do its share of giving in this regard.

From the conversation, it transpired that the US, as the leading economy of the world, can ensure a successful outcome for the Doha round of talks while India will play a contributory and constructive role.