US foreign policy experts back the nuclear accord

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Washington, Sep 24 (UNI) Leading US foreign policy specialists, including former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth, urged the Senate to pass as quickly as possible, the Congressional resolution of approval that will permit final implementation of the US-India nuclear agreement.

"No issue is more vital to the future of the US-India partnership than this legislation," they said, in a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat), copies of which were released here last night.

It said "India, like us, faces national elections soon - no later than May 2009. Now that the hard work of negotiating has been done, both bilaterally and internationally, it is essential to seize the moment and pass the Implementing legislation." "A failure by Congress to take the final action implementing this agreement would be a severe setback to the strategic gains both the United States and India hope to gain from their partnership." the letter said.

It said that a strong relationship with India was critical to US security and economic interests in Asia. It also praised India's non-proliferation record.

The signatories to the letter were: Thomas R. Pickering and Richard Celeste (both former US Ambassadors to India), Stephen P.

Cohen, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, Walter Andersen of the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Marshall Bouton, President, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Selig Harrison, Director, Asia Program, Center for International Policy and Dennis Kux, Senior Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center.

UNI XC NC KP0843

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