US must hasten passage of 123 agreement in its own interest: Wisner

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Mumbai, Sep 8 (UNI) The United States will lose out business opportunities with India in the nuclear business, if it delays the passage of the 123 agreement to the new administration, former US ambassador in India Frank G Wisner today cautioned.

Addressing the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on ''After US Elections: Next Steps in the US-India Relationship'', Mr Wisner, now Vice Chairman of American International Group (AIG), said with India joining the Nuclear Group after the Nucleaer Suppliers Group (NSG) nod to India to go ahead with nucleaer cooperation a number of countries such as France were already making inroads and any delay by the US would only affect the opportunities for US companies.

He said unless otherwise a lameduck session of the Congress was held in December, the 123 agreement should be passed by October four or the US Congress should unanimously approve extension of its session. This looks an impossibility, but the industry lobby would be working overtime to ensure that the 123 agreement and the Hyde's Act get the legislature ratification, Mr Wisner said.

Stating that the Indo-US nuclear deal might face a problem of ''calender'' as the Congress was in the fag end of its term, he said all efforts would be made to ensure that the legislative passage was hastened.

He said pushing the two legislations to the new administration would throw in ''more variables, uncertainties, bad accidents and imponderables''. So efforts would be on to ensure that the current legislative body gives the necessary legislative approval to enable US companies take up nuclear business with India, he added.

Ambassador Wisner was in full praise of the Indo-US teams that handled the tricky and complicated nuclear issue during the three dramatic days of the NSG meet deftly and this threw up the possibility of the two countries working with greater cooperation in the future days of collaboration.

He said the Pokharan nuclear blast did open up a new chapter in the Indo-US relationship. Contrary to further deterioration in the relations, it enabled the US to look upto India with renewed interest.


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