'India to decide time-frame to finalize N-deal'

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Washington, Oct 10: The Bush administration has drawn attention to the obligatory steps that had to be taken to ''conclude all aspects'' of the Indo-US Nuclear agreement but left it to the discretion of India to determine the time-frame.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack made this observation when his attention was drawn to a report quoting International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Chief Mohamed ElBaradei saying that India has not approached him for talks on the safeguards associated with the agreement.

ElBaradei is currently in India, touring nuclear research facility and meeting with Indian nuclear officials.

''There are a number of different steps that will need to be taken in order to finally conclude all aspects of this agreement.

It's up to the Indian Government to go through some of those steps on their own.'' ''There are some things that they will need to do by themselves.

Of course, we support them in those efforts. The timing of that is going to be up to them, though,'' McCormack said.

The agreement seeks to lift a three-decade old ban on the export of nuclear fuel and technology to India from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

When his attention was drawn to a new Congressional resolution, putting some restrictions seemingly on what the United States could do vis-a-vis India in the context of the agreement, McCormack said, ''well, we saw it. We took a look at it and we're going to keep working with not only those two representatives (who tabled the resolution) but others in the Congress to move forward on this deal.'' He, however, said, ''They're important voices and they have raised some issues and, we want to engage them to be able to reassure them of the importance of this deal, not only for the US Government but for our nonproliferation efforts worldwide.'' The resolution introduced last week in the House of Representatives by Howard L. Berman (Democrat) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Jeff Fortenberry (both Republican) sought to imposed restrictions on nuclear trade with India. But the resolution is of non-binding category.


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