New Delhi, Sep 9: Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) finally granted waiver to India! Now the 123 agreement is expected to be presented before the US Congress in the next few days for its approval, which will culmonate the journey of the nuclear deal. Ambassador David Mulford on Tuesday, Sep 9 said the 123 agreement could be signed during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the US later this month if the pact is passed by the Congress by then.
The United States does not rule out a 'Lame-Duck' Session of the Congress to discuss the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement even after the November 4 Presidential elections if the Congress does not clear the deal by September end. ''It (the Lame Duck Session) is a possibility,'' David Mulford said.
A 'Lame-Duck Session', officially described as 'Special Session', is called to complete the unfinished agenda of the previous Congress. Some members, who are no longer members of the new Congress, are also invited to attend. Since they do not have any powers in the new Congress, they are called 'Lame Ducks' and the session 'Lame-Duck Session.' Sources said the Session may be called to discuss many issues, not specifically the civilian nuclear deal, which could be taken up as part of the deliberations.
Describing as a 'history-making event' the September go-ahead to India by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to conduct nuclear commerce with the world, Mulford told reporters here the 123 legislation would be placed by the Bush administration before the Congress. It had not been placed till now.
The Congress was a sovereign body and would decide how it would proceed, he said.
The Prime Minister will visit New York and Washington later this month for attending the UN General Assembly Session and for talks with US leaders, the sources said, adding that during the Washington visit, the 123 agreement could be ratified.
The Ambassador said efforts were already underway between the Bush administration and the Congress to see what course must be adopted.
The sources said the Congress may not be able to decide the fate of the civilian nuclear deal in the short session, which began on Monday, Sep 8, since it does not have enough time to discuss the matter. As the Congress will be in session only from September 8-26, the administration wants to fast-track the vote.