Washington, Sep 28: With the US House of Representatives passing the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement by a clear majority (298-117 votes), Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Sunday, Sep 28 said the deal is in the interests of India, the US and the world at large.
Dr Singh heard the news when he was addressing a reception hosted for him by the Indian community here early on Sunday, Sep 28 morning. The prime Minister said he was happy to hear about it and expressed confidence that the deal will complete 'the last lap' soon. Just two hours before leaving for France after wrapping up his five-day visit to the US, Dr Singh said: "The India-US nuclear deal is in the interests of India, the US and the world at large. I should thank (US President) George Bush for this."
While thanking the Indian-American community for their support in promoting the deal, he said, "It is in no small measure due to the very supportive role the Indian American community and the friends of India in the US have played. I thank you all for this."
"The historic agreement on cooperation in the development of civilian nuclear energy in India that President George Bush and I embarked upon is nearing fruition," he added.
He pointed out that the nuclear deal would add an important strategic pillar to India-US ties and widen the country's 'clean energy options'.
"The rise of India is a force of peace, development and stability in the world. However, we still have many hurdles to cross. I am confident that our country has the will and the ability to meet the challenge of change," he said.
"Thanks to the leadership of President (George) Bush and the friendship of the people of the United States we are on the verge of securing a new status in the global nuclear order," he further said.
Expressing jubilation over the fact that this will liberate the country from the constraints of technology denial for over three decades, Dr Singh said that the deal was also a result of a convergence of shared interests and common concerns, and added that support for a strong India-US relationship cuts across party lines in both India and the US.
"The overall sentiment that emerges from our respective domestic debates is a strong positive endorsement of our strategic partnership," he further added.
The Prime Minister said Indo-US relationship is based on the twin pillars of principles and pragmatism.
Meanwhile, the deal will now go to the American Senate, which may vote, on the issue next week.
The Senate vote is a foregone conclusion given the fact that an identical bill has already been approved by its Foreign Relations Committee earlier this week.
Once the Senate adopts the bill, it would be ready for signing between the two countries.
According to reports, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to visit New Delhi on Friday, Oct 3, when she may sign the agreement with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
South Carolina Republican Joe Wilson, one of the strongest supporters of the deal, hailed the vote saying it moved the US one step forward in strengthening the partnership with the people of India.
Talking to reporters in New York today, the National Security Advisor M KNarayanan said that a major milestone has been crossed.
While Indian Ambassador to the U S Ronen Sen said, the deal is good for India and the world.