No ultimatum to India for signing N-deal: US

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Washington, Mar 26: The Bush Administration has made it clear that there is still some more time left before it says "now or never" to the much-touted US-India civil nuclear cooperation deal. "We have a little bit of time before we have to say "now or never." We've got several months to continue to work with them," US White House press secretary Dana Perino told reporters here.

"And actually that deal is supported by bipartisan members on Capitol Hill, as well, so they're helping to move this along," she added. Perino comments followed External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee statement that the UPA Government is still seeking consensus on the nuclear deal without giving a time frame for its signing.

"At this juncture, it is difficult for me to indicate any time frame by which we will be able to complete this process. We have some problems in the domestic field particularly among our supporters of the coalition government. We are trying to resolve the issue, but it may take some more time," Mukherjee told reporters here before his departure for New York.

He said the Central Government is interested in striking this deal and laid emphasis on obtaining a cleaner and alternative source of energy.

"We are an energy deficient nation and would like to have an alternative source of clean energy. By and large, there is an overwhelming response in favour of the nuclear deal, and the deal would prove to be good for the country," he said.

The Left Parties in India are opposing the UPA Government signing the bilateral agreement with the US.

During the last few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about deadline related to the singing of the deal.

Three steps are required to operationalise the deal namely, a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, an amendment in the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group's charter and the passing of the 123-Agreement by the US Congress.

ANI

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