Efforts on for consensus on N deal : Anand Sharma

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (UNI) Efforts are on to build a political consensus on finalising the Indo-US nuclear deal, the government said today.

Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of a book release function here this evening that the deal was in national interest and efforts were on (to build a consensus) as a coalition government was in place.

''Efforts continue. It's a coalition government and we are trying to mobilise consensus...,'' the Minister said while commenting on the deadline of May set by three US Senators yesterday.

The Minister, however, declined comment on the deadline and said a consultative committee between the Left allies and the government was already in place.

The deadline given by the US Senators came in for sharp attack by the Left allies of the UPA government as well as the Opposition BJP.

''It's in national interest,'' the Minister said when asked whether he was hopeful the deal would be finalised this year.

US Senators Joseph Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry, former US Presidential candidate,(both Democrats) and Chuck Hagel, (Republican) yesterday asked India to send the deal back to the Congress by May so that it could be ratified by July.

Otherwise the next governement would re-negotiate the deal, they warned.

The statement by the Senators came in for sharp attack by the Left as well as the Opposition BJP.

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