Rice to visit India on Oct 3 to conclude nuclear deal

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New York, Sep 27 (UNI) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is likely to visit New Delhi on October 3-4 to wrap up the Indo-US nuclear deal as it is expected to be cleared by the US Congress early next week.

The deal could not be wrapped up at the crucial meeting between US President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the Oval Office in White House in the absence of a Congressional nod.

Ms Rice would hold talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on various aspects of bilateral relations, including the civilian nuclear initiative.

The External Affairs Minister, who was not in the Prime Minister's delegation during the five-day visit to the US, is expected to arrive here to attend the Ministerial segment of the UN General Assembly.

He would have talks with the US Secretary of State and senior officials.

In another development late last night, the US House of Representatives postponed the formal vote on the approval legislation for the US-India civilian nuclear agreement.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman described the deal as a positive step towards strengthening relations between India and the US.

He described the deal as a positive signal for the non-proliferation regime.

Eighteen speakers spoke on the Bill during the 40-minute debate, with some expressing concern that the agreement would flout the non-proliferation regime and hard hit the US moral high ground on nuclear non-proliferation.

They said it would encourage Pakistan, Iran and North Korea to start an arms race in the region.

UNI RB SKB BD2005

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