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McCain roots for N-deal; takes a swipe at Obama

Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | July 24, 2008 09:12 IST

The campaign of Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain [Images], was quick off the gate to put out a statement pledging its support for the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal in the wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] prevailing in the confidence vote in Parliament.

Coverage: Indo-US Nuclear Tango

The McCain camp said, "Senator McCain strongly supports the Indo-US civilian nuclear accord as a means of strengthening our relationship with the world's largest democracy, and further involving India in the fight against proliferation."

"He hopes the US Congress will be able to act this year on the agreement," the statement added.

Nuclear deal explained

And, then taking a dig at Obama said, "While Senator McCain offered unqualified support for this landmark accord, Senator Obama supported a number of 'killer amendments' that would have torpedoed the agreement before it could even be considered by India."

Obama, however, ultimately voted in favour of the enabling legislation, known as the Hyde Act, and in a recent interview suggested he is opposed to renegotiating the deal as the BJP had demanded, saying, 'I continue to hope this process can be concluded before the end of the year. I am reluctant to seek changes.'

Uncovering the nuclear deal

In the interview with Outlook magazine, he acknowledged: 'I had some concerns about the non proliferation aspects of the original agreement when it was debated in Congress,' but that he had concluded that 'this agreement would enhance our partnership and deepen our cooperation'.

When asked what changes he would like to see if he had concerns about the deal, Obama said, 'The existing agreement effectively balanced a range of important issues -- from our strategic relationship with India to our non-proliferation concerns to India's energy needs. I am therefore reluctant to seek changes.'

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