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Indian-Americans praise Republicans over N-deal

Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington | September 25, 2008 22:00 IST

Applauding the Republican party's efforts to get the Indo-US nuclear deal approved, an organisation of Indian Americans has come down heavily on the Democrats in the House of Representatives for "stubbornly" maintaining opposition to the landmark accord.

In a statement, the Indian American Republican Council pointed out that it was Republican Congresswoman from Florida [Images], Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who introduced the Senate Version of the Bill of Approval in House of Representatives, a measure that has found co-sponsors only among the top Republican leadership in that Chamber.

"Unfortunately, history repeats itself with a partisan divide for what should be a bipartisan agreement," said Nina Verghese, the IARC spokeswoman.

"In 2006, House Democrats did everything possible to scuttle Republican-led efforts to pass legislation known a  the Hyde Act, to give President George W Bush [Images] the authority to negotiate a civilian nuclear agreement with India," she said.

"After two years, many hearings and countless negotiations, House Democrats stubbornly maintain their opposition. It is telling that not one Democrat signed onto this legislation, while top House Republican leaders did so immediately," the spokeswoman said.

She said it should be clear by now to the Indian American community which party takes the defence relationship between the US and India seriously.

"On the day when the leader of the world's largest democracy (Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images]) visits Washington, DC, we should expect more from Democrats," Verghese said.

Congressional aides on the Republican side have told PTI that the House may take up the US-India civilian nuclear agreement on Thursday but no finality is expected on the issue.

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