Washington, Jul 9: Despite Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's daring effort of shunning his Left coalition partners and announcing going ahead with the Indo-US deal, it seems the US Congress may not be able to give its final approval, as it requires at least 30 days of continuous session to consider it which is not likely to happen in the days to come.
The US Congress' stamp on the deal does not seem possible, since (because of the long August recess) less than 40 days are left before the US Congress session adjourns on Sept. 26, said a report in the Washington Post. And, before that, India is to clear two more hurdles - completing an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); and securing approval from the 45 nations constituting the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which governs trade in reactors and uranium.
"At this point, both [the IAEA and NSG actions] have to take place in the next couple of weeks for the deal to be considered by the US Congress," said Lynne Weil, the spokeswoman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
But, the IAEA Board of Governors is not expected to take up the matter until August, whereas the NSG may take several months to reach a consensus, added the paper.
Now, with the near impossibility of US Congressional passage by year-end, officials and experts have begun to focus on the possibility that other countries such as France and Russia would rush in to make nuclear sales to India while US companies still face legal restrictions, added the paper.
But, a US State Department official, on the condition of anonymity, said that the Bush administration might pressure the US Congress not to thwart potential business opportunities for American companies. "It is the hidden force of this agreement It is US business that sees an opportunity," the paper quoted him as saying.
In the event of the deal not getting passed by the US Congress and the US Presidential elections approach, New Delhi will have to wait for the results with fingers crossed. While Republican candidate John McCain is a strong supporter of the agreement, his Democratic rival Barack Obama, is more skeptical about the deal, said the paper.
It added that during the Congressional debate on the Hyde Act, Obama inserted language in the bill limiting the amount of nuclear fuel supplied to India from the United States to deter nuclear testing.