Washington, Mar 26 : External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that the UPA Government was still seeking consensus on the nuclear deal, which was being opposed by its Communist allies. He, however, failed to give a time frame within which the deal would be signed.
"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 at a news conference.
He said that the Centre was interested in striking this deal and laid emphasis on obtaining a cleaner and alternative source of energy.
"We are 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.
US officials have warned that the deal, which would provide India access to American nuclear fuel and technology, could fall through if it is not presented to the Congress for required approval by July.
He said, "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh wants nuclear power as a source of clean energy to help attain an economic growth target of 9 to 10 per cent a year over the next two decades."
The communists have threatened to bring down the Government if it tries to push the deal through.
Mukherjee said, "India has completed negotiations for an agreement on India-specific safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency. But the agreement has not yet been signed or forwarded to the UN nuclear watchdog's board of governors for approval."
The deal would also need approval from the 45-nation Nuclear suppliers Group.
Mukherjee said that the Government has shared a broad outline of the IAEA negotiations with critics and promised more disclosures soon.