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N-deal: US lawmakers stress on August timeline

July 03, 2008 15:44 IST

As India continues its efforts to push the nuclear deal, a delegation of influential US Lawmakers on Thursday said the agreement should come back to the Congress for final vote by August failing which it will not be completed during the tenure of Bush Administration.

After meeting Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Nuclear Deal Shyam Saran and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, the US Congressional delegation leader Gary Ackerman made it clear that India will have to speed up the process as the calendar of the American Congress is "running quickly" and time to get the deal through is "getting shorter".

"The Congress is an ongoing entity. We have a calendar. The calendar is running quickly," he told reporters after meeting Saran and Menon during which he and other five members of the delegation were briefed about New Delhi's efforts to implement the deal at the earliest.

He said the Congress will break for session in September and it will meet again after the US Presidential poll process, while making it clear that the deal would have to be taken up during the next administration if India fails to firm up a Safeguards Agreement with IAEA and get waiver from 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) by August.

"We had been hopeful that the processes will move quickly... (but) the processes have moved slower than we had hoped because of obvious reasons," said Ackerman, who heads the House Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on South Asia.

He noted that the "visionary" deal was going through political processes here but refused to comment on it, saying he had no right to "infringe on the sovereign" process.

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