PM, Bush say nuke deal beneficial for India

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Tokayo, Japan, Jul 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George Bush today hailed the civil nuclear agreement between the two nations as mutually beneficial.

Talking to the media after their meeting at Windsor hotel here where President Bush is staying, the two leaders described relations between their countries as good, official sources said.

Mr Bush also lauded the leadership of the Indian Prime Minister.

The meeting lasted over half an hour at Tokayo, the venue of the G-8 summit, early this morning.

The Prime Minister is understood to have briefed the US President on the steps India would be taking in getting the deal through IAEA and NSG.

He sought the help of Bush to get the necessary approval from these two international bodies so that the civil nuclear agreement between the two nations is stiched up in time for the vote by US Congress later this year before it becomes operational.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and his special envoy on the deal, Shyam Saran, left Sapporo early this morning by road for Toyako for his bilateral talks with Bush.

Earlier yesterday, the Prime Minister had said India will go ahead in approaching the Vienna-based nuclear watchdog in signing the safeguards agreement with it.

From there the agreement goes to the NSG for its scrutiny and waiver India is seeking to enter nuclear fuel commerce and technology market.

Officials said after his meeting with Mr Bush, the Prime Minister will be attending a multilateral dialogue between G-8 and O-5 countries.

The Prime minister, he added, will later have bilateral talks with the leaders of Russia, Japan, Canada and Australia followed by his last but brief engagement with leaders of Bric--Brazil, Russia, India and China.

UNI SAA AK VP0715

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