US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to arrive in India today

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New Delhi, Oct 3 : US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is expected to arrive in India today on a two-day visit to sign the 123 civilian nuclear agreement.

During her visit, Rice will hold talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on bilateral and regional issues, and also on ways to take the bilateral strategic partnership further.

Besides meeting Mukherjee, Rice will also hold talks with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

On Thursday, the United States Senate approved the landmark Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

The 100-member US Senate approved the Indo-US nuclear deal paving the way for its operationalisation. While 86 Senators voted for the deal, 13 opposed it. The US Senate approved the legislation on the deal four days after the US House of Representatives passed the agreement by a clear majority (298-117 votes). Earlier, the agreement was expected to be signed by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush during the former's recent visit to Washington. Last month, the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) of countries that supply nuclear material and technology agreed to lift the ban on civilian nuclear trade with India after contentious talks and some concessions to countries fearful it could set a dangerous precedent. As per procedure, after the Congressional approval, the Bill had to be passed by the Senate for final clearance, and then the US President will sign it into law.

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