Sikh Council leader supports PM on nuclear deal

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Washington, Jul 16 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has received support from unexpected quarters on the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal, as an influential Non-Resident Indian (NRI) appealed to Indians to rally in the former's favour.

NRI leader Rajwant Singh, has in a letter, urged all political parties to support the stand of the Prime Minister, saying, ''The agreement is for the betterment of India and millions will benefit from the deal.'' Dr Singh, who is the Chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education, a non-profit organisation which works closely with the White House and the US Congress, claimed that there was overwhelming support among the political leaders in America to improve relations with India and help her gain energy self-sufficiency.

In addition, the Council has sent letters to the congressional leadership in Washington asking them to support the nuclear deal.

Describing the steps as unprecedented, he urged the Indian political leadership to reciprocate, regardless of party affiliation.

Referring to the apprehensions expressed by Leftist and BJP leaders against the deal as unfounded, he said, ''India is too big a country and has too much respect internationally to be bullied into changing its foreign policies due to this deal.'' He further added ''Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had influenced the US policies on transfer of nuclear technology with US President George Bush and others going out of the way to help India gain nuclear energy despite strong opinions against it in the American political circles.'' Lauding the Prime Minister for his ''visionary'' leadership skills, the NRI leader said India was held in deep admiration by G8 countries and other emerging powers and there was acceptance of the agreement and support for India's new status.

Requesting the Shiromani Akali Dal to reconsider its decision to vote against the UPA government on the issue, he said India was suffering from energy deficiency and their progress on the economic front had been stymied due to this.

Dr Singh was the only Sikh leader invited to the state dinner at the White House in honour of the Prime Minister in July 2005 when the agreement was finalised.

UNI SD BDP KN1524

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