Mulford meets Saran for early steps by India on N-deal

Mulford meets Saran for early steps by India on N-deal

New Delhi: The US on Wednesday impressed upon India the need to take early next steps for the implementation of the civil nuclear deal that has been caught in political controversy here.

US ambassador to India David Mulford met Shyam Saran, the Prime Minister’s special envoy on the nuclear issue, to discuss the future of the atomic agreement.

Mulford, who was to leave for Washington hours later, wanted to assess the stance the government would adopt in view of the Left parties’ opposition to operationalization of the deal, sources said.

The two deliberated on how to go about implementing the agreement, with the US ambassador emphasizing the need for taking the next steps as early as possible, as delay could endanger the agreement, they said.

Mulford will be in Washington on Thursday to brief the Bush administration about the fate of the agreement.

Meanwhile, the 45-nation nuclear suppliers group (NSG), whose endorsement is crucial to operationalizing the Indo-US nuclear deal, will be briefed by the US here on Thursday.

The US, which is pushing hard to implement the deal, is expected to explain in detail the importance of the change in NSG guidelines to allow international nuclear trade with India.

Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar is unlikely to attend the meeting.

Lalitha Vaidyanathan in Vienna contributed to this story.