US Under-Secretary of State Richard Boucher, who held discussions with his counterpart Ms Gayatri Kumar, Joint Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry, here, said the United States was ready to move forward ''very quickly'' and ''put the pieces together'' before the US Congress goes into recess. ''We do understand time is short and precious...We still have to put some pieces together. We are waiting to hear from the Indian government. We are ready to move forward... We do want to move very quickly. We should give the Congress sufficient time...,'' he said in reply to a question.
On the Hyde Act, Mr Boucher said it was a law governing US domestic business while the 123 Agreement covered India and the US together and put both countries in the same framework.
''I don't see a contradiction between the two,'' he said.
Asked how much time would the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the 45-member international nuclear body whose nod is essential for the final implementation of the deal, take in clearing the agreement, Mr Boucher said the NSG is a ''consensus body'' which is committed to Non-proliferation.
''I cannot speculate on that...The NSG is a consensus organisation which is committed to non-proliferation,'' he said, at a press confrence.
However, the papers (with the IAEA) must be complete before the matter is taken up with the NSG.
To a question on whetheer he had seen the draft of the India-specific Safeguards Agreement with the IAEA, he said it was between the Indian government and the IAEA.
However, the US was waiting for India to complete the negotiations with the iAEA.
The IAEA confirmed that ''considerable progress'' had been made on the negotiations with India on the deal and that consultations would continue.
Responding to an e-mail query about the progress made on the issue, an IAEA spokesperson, however, said the topic was not on the agenda of this week's IAEA board meeting.
''Considerable progress has been achieved during the round of negotiations about a safeguards agreement between the IAEA and India held last week in Vienna. Consultations between India and the Agency will continue,'' the spokesperson told UNI from Vienna.
India and IAEA have so far held five round of negotiations on India-specific safeguards agreement. The fifth round concluded in Vienna last week.
To a question about India's domestic political constraints and whether the failure of the deal to come through would have an impact on the overall Indo-US relations, Mr Boucher said both countries had a very strong relationship with a ''deepening momentum.'' He said both countries understood each other's political system and constraints.
Relations between the two countries are multi-faceted and cover several areas and nuclear issue is one of them, even though a ''high-profile'' one.
''It is true of all democracies.'' ''If it doesn't happen, we have other relations...My job is to get it done and we will make it happen. I don't want to miss the opportunity. On the other hand, we have many opportunities,'' he asserted.
He said the deal was ''good for the United States, good for India and good for Non-Proliferation.
''The deal will bring India in harmony with Non-proliferation,'' he added.