Mulford asks India to take last steps on nuclear deal

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New Delhi, Sep 19 (UNI) Saying that time was of essence, US Ambassador David C Mulford has enjoined upon India to take the "last steps" to operationalise the civil nuclear deal with Washington, including completing the IAEA-India Safeguards Agreement and securing the Nuclear Suppliers Group rule change.

These steps will permit India's nuclear initiative to be "global in its scope", Mr Mulford said last night in his address at the Fourth Indo-US Economic Summit. The event was organised by the Indo-American Chambers of Commerce.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia also addressed the gathering.

''Finally, the US Congress must vote once more on the 123 Agreement, an action best accomplished by this (Bush) Administration in the life of this Congress'', Mr Mulford said.

''The bottom line here is that when these final steps are taken, India's isolation in the global civil nuclear field will end. This will enable India to launch a new large scale industry of its own and pioneer a new era to meet its energy needs that will ultimately benefit all its people,'' he said.

Pointing out that the Bush Administration and the UPA government have overcome past differences and were charting a new course for the future, Mr Mulford said "this new course moves us from 123 to what I call 456." Touching upon this new concept, Mr Mulford said "We are engaging with India on virtualy every important front, from defence and space co-operation to critical transnational issues such as counterterrorism, health, education and climate change." The Ambassador then went to discuss his vision on economic relationship between the two democracies.

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