US Senate to vote on Indo-US nuclear deal today

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Washington, Oct 1 : The American Senate is set to vote on the Indo-US nuclear deal today, after the US House of Representatives passed the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement by a clear majority (298-117 votes) three days ago.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said that the legislation on the deal would in all probability be taken up after another pending legislation the Rail Safety Amtrak Bill is voted on by lawmakers.

Reid said on the Floor of the Senate at the start of the day's proceedings that he was quite sure that it could be finalized so that there could be a vote on the deal.

Once the Senate adopts the bill, it would be ready for signing between the two countries.

Earlier, President George W Bush had said: "I urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this important piece of legislation before their October adjournment. Signing this bi-partisan bill will help strengthen our partnership with India." The Senate vote is a foregone conclusion given the fact that an identical bill has already been approved by its Foreign Relations Committee earlier last week. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had said the deal was in the interests of India, the US and the world at large.

"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". According to reports, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to visit New Delhi on Friday, when she may sign the agreement with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

ANI

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