New Delhi: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday a landmark deal lifting a ban on civilian nuclear trade with India would be inked soon after a scheduled signing during her visit here was postponed.
Rice said the delay was simply the result of procedural issues, rather than any substantive problem with the bilateral pact which she insisted was done and dusted.
The agreement has been approved by both houses of the US Congress, but has yet to be formally delivered to the White House for President George W. Bush to sign into law.
“The president will sign the agreement very soon,” said Rice, adding that both countries would then put their signatures to the deal.
“The agreement is done,” she insisted during a joint press conference with Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
“I don’t want anyone to think that we have open issues. These are administrative matters.”
Rice, who had lobbied Congress to approve the deal despite fears it could undercut global efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons, had hoped to sign the agreement as the highlight of her brief trip to New Delhi.
The pact offers India access to sophisticated US technology and cheap atomic energy in return for New Delhi allowing UN inspections of some of its civilian nuclear facilities.