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N-deal: McCain hails Indian-Americans
Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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September 11, 2008 20:27 IST

Applauding the Indian-American community for its role in strengthening bilateral ties, US Republican presidential nominee John McCain [Images] has acknowledged its "excellent work" in the advancement of the Indo-US nuclear deal through "overwhelming bipartisan support" in Congress.

"The Indian-American community is an integral part of the modern American tapestry. You have contributed greatly to strengthening the relationship between the US and India.

The most recent example of your excellent work was the advancement of US-India civil nuclear cooperation through overwhelming bipartisan support in our Congress," McCain said in a 'Thank You Letter' on the establishment of 'Indo-Americans for McCain Coalition.'

He said the community's "efforts and commitment will help our campaign uphold the principles of smaller government, a strong national defence and lower taxes for working Americans."

"I am truly appreciative. Through the Indo-Americans for McCain Coalition, you have shown a strong commitment to building a grassroots network of supporters to ensure victory in (the) November (presidential poll)," McCain said in the letter released by the convener/coordinator of the new organisation Deven Verma.

Stating that there are many challenges ahead, the Republican White House hopeful said, "I welcome your input as we address them."

"I intend to work closely with you to ensure that the concerns of Indian-Americans and the Indo-American community as a whole are reflected in my campaign," the Arizona Senator said.

Senator McCain said he is for the civilian nuclear deal, which has entered the final phase with President George W Bush [Images] sending his package to the Congress and urging lawmakers to have the agreement out of the way by the end of this year.

After the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group gave the historic waiver to India on nuclear trade last week, McCain not only welcomed the decision, but also lashed out at his Democratic opponent Barack Obama [Images] for supporting "poison pill" amendments during consideration in the Senate.

"I welcome... the decision by the 45-nation NSG to lift the global ban on civilian nuclear trade with India. This step, which is critical to implementing the US-India civilian nuclear agreement, represents another building block in the partnership between our two countries," McCain had said.

"Because the agreement will further involve India in the global non-proliferation regime, strengthen the ongoing transformation of US-India relations, and reduce India's dependence on carbon-emitting energy sources, I supported it early on and without equivocation," he had said.

"The same cannot be said of my opponent (Obama), who supported 'poison pill' amendments on the Senate floor that would have had the effect of killing this important agreement. Now that the NSG has approved it, Congressional leaders should act expeditiously to pass the US-India nuclear agreement here at home," the Arizona Republican said.

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