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US Inc slams Left for scuttling N-deal
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | October 16, 2007 09:52 IST
The US industry majors, who invested much time and energy and money hiring one of the top lobbying firms in the country to lobby Congress to approve the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, are incensed over the Communist allies of the Indian government scuttling the agreement that has led to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] throwing in the towel.
While US-India Business Council President Ron Somers was trying to be diplomatic, even while expressing his disappointment that the deal may very well be down the tubes, General Electric's Michael Gadbaw, vice president and counsel of this giant multinational that has done business in India for decades, showed no compunctions and slammed the coalition partners of the Indian government that had threatened to withdraw support that led to Dr Singh dunking the deal.
Gadbaw bemoaned that "the crowning achievement," which was hammered out between Prime Minister Singh and President Bush following their meeting in July 2005, "hangs in a delicate balance as politics complicates consideration of the US-India nuclear agreement."
Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the USIBC for the visiting Indian parliamentarians who are part of the India-US Forum of Parliamentarians, Gadbaw said, "The overwhelming bipartisan support for the agreement in the United States Congress has turned our attention to the Indian side where the agreement has been taken hostage by some who will distort the nature of our common purpose."
The GE representative, said, "From what I can tell of the debate, the party of Jyoti Basu--whom I came to know while he was chief minister of West Bengal and who has done so much for his state -- that party has failed to appreciate the importance and significance of this agreement to the future and prosperity of our two countries."
Gadbaw exhorted the visiting parliamentarians 'to take from this visit the support and understanding needed to carry the day in gaining support in the Indian Parliament and among the Indian people' for the consummation of the deal.
Somers was more circumspect although conveying a similar message, noting, "Here we are on October 15, we have critical elections upcoming in the United States in about 13 months (and) in India, we are hearing and reading in the newspapers about different equations taking place in the Indian polity."
He said that it is imperative that "we work together now to make certain that we secure the civilian nuclear deal. The civilian nuclear deal in my mind is a lot more than just about civilian nuclear energy cooperation -- but certainly it is that also."
Somers said that last month he had visited the World Nuclear Association in London [Images], 'where literally, every nation in the world was looking forward to doing business in India in the civilian nuclear sector.'
"We are in the cusp of history of moving forward our two great countries," he said, and added, "I would argue that one element that hard infrastructure need to be focused on is the need for electricity capacity and in India. There is no doubt that is a need."
Somers said, "India needs all kinds of energy development �not just in civilian nuclear energy -- but certainly that has to be part of the equation."
"I am suggesting that clean and safe nuclear power development must be part of this equation," he said, and asserted that "the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal is not just about the United States and India civilian nuclear development, it really is about the globe and all of the countries engaging India."
"This is why we need to move forward with this very constructive deal that is before the United States of America -- before the Congress -- the 123 Agreement and before India now, because we are at the cusp of these very important decisions that are being made in India," Somers reiterated.