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PM's France visit significant for nuke deal


Anirudh Bhattacharyya,CNN-IBN
Sep 26, 2008 at 07:06pm IST

New York: The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to France will be significant in that it appears that India was prepared for the eventuality that has unfolded in the United States and is looking beyond the US for potential trading partners on civilian nuclear supplies.

India and the United States may have hoped to see the 123 Agreement through the Congress before the two leaders met in Washington which was not to be.

It was clear that the Indian delegation had not expected a swift resolution especially since the US is preoccupied with the Wall Street crisis

Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon says, “As you can see, in the Congress itself there is bipartisan support. But the fact is that they have other things to do which are very important. It's really a function of their own process. I don't think it's lack of will or support, I don't think that's the problem.”

Even as it waits for the US congress’ nod, India will be proceeding with negotiations on civilian nuclear commerce with other members of the Nuclear Supplies Group like France when the PM reaches there on September 28.

As for the completion of the Indo-US Nuke deal , the foreign secretary says India is not setting any timeframe.

Menon says, “We have never set deadlines. Why set ourselves up for disappointment.”

The meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush was bittersweet as the US Congress grapples first with the financial bailout package for Wall Street.

However, it's very clear that nuclear trade will remain high on the PM's agenda even as he leaves America and travels to Paris.

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