10/30/2007, 00.00
INDIA – UNITED STATES
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Washington trying to save nuclear deal with New Delhi

Secretary Rice speaks to her Indian counterpart to reiterate US intention to go ahead with deal as is. India’s ruling alliance is divided over the issue. United States warns that if the Congress Party fails to get its allies on board, India’s campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council will suffer.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The United States will go ahead and implement the nuclear co-operation agreement it signed with India without renegotiating its terms, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told her Indian counterpart, Pranab Mukherjee in a phone conversation, this according to a US State Department statement.

Washington is concerned that the deal, which was long in reaching, might falter because of divisions in India’s governing coalition government.

Leftwing parties in the ruling alliance are opposed to closer co-operation with the United States, arguing that it would give Washington to much sway over India’s foreign policy. For this reason they might pull out of Prime Minister Singh’s government and cause early elections.  Talks between the coalition partners are set for November 16.

By contrast, India’s opposition wants a parliamentary committee to vet the agreement before it is debated in parliament.

Under the terms of the deal signed this summer India, which has not signed the non-proliferation treaty, will have access to US civilian nuclear technology. It also guarantees India supply in nuclear fuel for 40 years. 

The Bush administration wants the deal passed before next year’s presidential elections.

If India’s Congress Party fails to get its allies to accept the agreement it will not only fail but for some US analysts India’s international credibility will suffer and so will its campaign to get a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. (NC)

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