Importance of U.S. support stressed

Feb. 18, 2008 at 2:04 PM
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NEW DELHI, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- India's top nuclear talks envoy Monday warned that without U.S. support, the country cannot have civilian nuclear trade with other countries.

Speaking in New Delhi, Shyam Saran, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's envoy on the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, said: "Our objective is to enable India to have a wide choice of partners in pursuing nuclear commerce and high technology trade. But we cannot attain this objective without the U.S. taking the lead on our behalf," the Press Trust of India reported.

Singh, who worked with U.S. President George Bush in structuring the deal, has seen the project languish because of strong opposition from the Left parties in his ruling coalition.

Saran said the deal won't adversely impact India's military program, one of the reasons the opponents cite to derail it.

In fact, he said, "frankly, I do not think that we could have secured any better safeguards for India's interests" in the agreement, the report said.

Saran said Russia and France also are keen to have nuclear trade with India but added, "there should be no doubt that neither they nor others will make an exception for India unilaterally unless the (45-nation) Nuclear Suppliers Group adjusts its guidelines in the same manner as the U.S. is prepared to do."

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