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N-deal: US wants India to adhere to Hyde Act
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March 04, 2008 14:51 IST

Amid concerns in New Delhi over the Hyde Act, the United States on Tuesday suggested that 'domestic' legislation will have to be taken into account in operation of the civil nuclear cooperation with India.

"The Hyde Act is a domestic legislation (and) the 123 agreement is an international agreement. I think we can move forward with both in a consistent manner," Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher told media persons in New Delhi.

Boucher, who discussed the nuclear deal issue with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, made the comment when asked by reporters whether the Hyde Act would have any bearing on the Indo-US nuclear cooperation.

The comment came amid concerns voiced by the Left parties and BJP over the Hyde Act despite the government's insistence that it will have no bearing on the nuclear deal with the US.

The concerns were heightened after US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said last month that changes in the NSG guidelines, required by India for nuclear commerce with international community, will have to be 'completely consistent with the obligations of the Hyde Act'.

She had said that Washington would not support India's case if it was contrary to the Hyde Act.

The Indian government has maintained, however, that it will not be bound by the Hyde Act, which contains some 'prescriptive and extraneous elements'.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee questioned Rice's comment in a veiled manner in Parliament on Monday as he asserted that India's rights and obligations on civil nuclear cooperation came only from the 123 Agreement.

Left parties do not buy the government's argument on Hyde Act and have warned of serious consequences if the deal is operationalised.

"We don't agree with the government that the Hyde Act's implications do not exist for India," party Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said after Mukherjee's statement in Parliament on Monday.

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