Rice flies to India today to discuss nuclear, other issues

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Washington, Oct 3 (UNI) US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will fly to New Delhi later today to review the situation that follows the passage of the US-India nuclear agreement, allowing India to import nuclear technology denied for 34 years.

Ms Rice would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, BJP leader L K Advani, and other leaders.

''They will discuss a wide range of issues, including the US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative, trade, counter-terrorism, human rights, religious freedom, and education,'' said a State Department statement which announced Ms Rice's visit.

The US Senate passed 86 to 13 votes the agreement, marking the end of process that began with President George W Bush and Dr Singh signing the accord in July 2005.

Ms Rice described the nuclear accord as a cornerstone for a new relationship between New Delhi and Washington.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Richard Boucher said the accord was a unique agreement based on an exemplary Indian record on nuclear issues, as opposed to across-the-board Iranian violations of commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Under the agreement, India, in return for nuclear fuel and technology, would open its non-military nuclear facilities to international inspections.

India was denied nuclear technology after it had tested its first nuclear device in 1974 and declined to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

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