Washington, June 18 : The Bush Administration has said it would make every possible effort to ensure that the proposed Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement is passed by the US Congress if the Indian Government approves it by January 20, the last day of President George Bush in office.
A US State Department spokesman said that the Bush administration would support the Indo-US nuclear deal till its last day in office and hoped that the new administration at the White House would also move forward on it.
"The bottom line is, from now until January 20, we will continue to work to support this agreement. We will continue to encourage the Indian government to approve it. And if such time, it is approved, whether that is today, tomorrow, or January 19, we will make every effort to move it through Congress," State Department's Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said last evening.
He added, "We would certainly hope that the next administration, whoever comes to office in January, would also see this agreement as something fundamentally in America's interest and want to move forward with it as well."
"Fundamentally, we think that the India Civil Nuclear Agreement is something that's in the interests of both countries. But, you know, the obstacle has been that the Indian government has some internal political issues that it needs to resolve before it can move forward with it," the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the UPA-Left coordination committee meeting over the deal, which was slated to take place this evening in New Delhi, has been postponed till June 25.
Ahead of the crucial meeting, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee met CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat on Monday evening and sought the Left's support for an India specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Mukherjee reiterated the government's request to allow them to finalise the India-specific safeguards agreement before IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei completes his term in July.
Mukherjee is believed to have told Karat that the communists' apprehension that finalising the IAEA pact would put the contentious agreement on autopilot is wrong.
According to sources, Mukhhrjee told Karat that the Left has to trust the government and that the government has not taken any steps without the communist allies' consent so far.
Karat reportedly told Mukherjee that the Left still has apprehensions over the deal but he would discuss the minister's new appeal with the other Left allies.
The Left parties, which extend crucial outside support to the government, have been strongly opposing implementation of the deal with the US, arguing that it would compromise the country's security interests and independent foreign policy.
Left parties have warned the government of serious consequences if it implemented the deal and the two sides are currently engaged in talks to end the deadlock.