PM raises fresh hope for nuclear deal, claims lobby group

PM raises fresh hope for nuclear deal, claims lobby group


New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is determined to push the nuclear deal with the United States despite stiff opposition from his communist allies, a lobbying group quoted him as saying. The historic deal has almost been stalled as the lleft parties have threatened to end support if the pact is pursued.

Singh told members of the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), who met him late on 23 October 2007, that the nuclear agreement was the best way forward for India, the United States, and the world, a statement from the group said on 24 October.

“We ... found him determined to take the US-India civilian nuclear agreement forward despite some opposition typical in a vibrant democracy like India," said Sanjay Puri, chairman of the Washington-based USINPAC.

“The message that the prime minister wanted the USINPAC delegation to take back to America was that his government is working to take this deal forward," the statement added.

Robinder Sachdev, USINPAC’s India unit head, said the prime minister hopes a debate on the deal in parliament during the winter session will help forge a political consensus, even though it does not need to be approved by parliament.

Singh’s comments to the lobby group came as US undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns, Washington’s main negotiator for the pact, said it did not have an unlimited amount of time.

The US administration wants the agreement to go to Congress for its backing by the end of the year, he said in New York.