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N-deal 'strengthening the emerging alliance'

October 10, 2008 11:35 IST

With India and the US set to formally sign the civilian nuclear deal on Friday, a senior Republican lawmaker has said the agreement paves the way for closer ties between the world's largest democracies.

"Stronger economic, scientific, diplomatic, and military cooperation between the US and India is in the national interest of both countries and reflects our increasingly close relationship with this important democratic ally," Ranking member on the House of Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, said.

"This is not an agreement which we would enter into with just any country," she said in a statement.

The Florida [Images] lawmaker, an original co-sponsor of the Henry J Hyde US-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act, had introduced a House companion bill for implementation of the nuclear agreement in the final days of the legislative session.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [Images] and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will ink the agreement at the State Department at 4 pm local time on Friday evening (1:30 am on Saturday morning IST), it has been officially announced.

"The agreement demonstrates India's commitment to cooperate with the US on efforts to halt the proliferation to rogue states and others of material and technology that could be used to construct nuclear weapons. In addition, newly-implemented safeguards will expand the International Atomic Energy Agency's authority to monitor Indian nuclear facilities," Ros Lehtinen said.

"In addition to helping India provide energy to its rapidly growing population, this agreement will strengthen the emerging alliance between the countries," she said.

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