Washington: Ahead of the US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns’s proposed visit to India later this week for talks on the “123 agreement”, the State Department has said the trip has not been formally scheduled.
At Foggy Bottom, the deputy spokesman Tom Casey said Burns has “spoken about his willingness” to go to India but that a trip has not been formally scheduled.
When asked if Burns is in India this week possibly on a family trip or vacation, Casey said “Nick, as far as I know, was on the plane with the secretary, headed to Berlin for G-8 meetings. And as far as I know, while he’s spoken about his willingness to go on to India, if it’s appropriate, to continue those discussions on India’s nuclear deal, I don’t believe that he’s scheduled a trip there as of yet.”
Asked if he is coming back home after European tour, Casey said “At this point, I certainly know, if there’s a reason for him to go later this week or next week, then he will certainly do so. I know, originally, they were hoping to have him go out somewhere in the next couple of weeks. But there’s no confirmed travel plans at this point”.
But speaking to The Wall Street Journal, the US envoy in New Delhi David Mulford said the two countries are nearing a compromise on a landmark civilian-nuclear-energy deal.
Mulford said he expected that India and the US would surmount most of the major obstacles during two days of talks scheduled to start on Friday in New Delhi acknowledging though that the two sides would have to work through some “deeply political issues”.
At the same time he said “We have been very anxious to take the next step.”
“The big stuff has been done,” Mulford told the paper adding “The devil is in the details.”