PM Singh was reluctant to sign nuclear deal with US: Rice

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Manmohan Singh
Washington, Oct 27: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was initially reluctant to give the go ahead to the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and even did not want to see the then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice because he did not want to say no to her.

But it was the persuasive skills of Rice that he agreed to it when almost everyone in the Bush administration had given up on the "deal of a lifetime." The little-known, but critical insight, into how the nuclear deal was negotiated and inked is mentioned by Rice in her latest book 'No Higher Honor' which is scheduled to hit the stands on November 1.

"I woke up at 4.30 am and sat straight up in bed. I am not letting this go down, I thought," Rice writes in her book, recollecting the early hours of the day when Singh was to meet the then US President George W Bush at his Oval Office in the White House.

A day earlier, but for Rice, the entire Bush administration had given up on the nuclear deal, which the White House was desperately pushing for. In fact, contrary to perception, the then Foreign Minister Natwar Singh was in favour of the deal, but the Prime Minister was not as he was not sure if he can sell it in New Delhi.

"Natwar was adamant. He wanted the deal, but the Prime Minister wasn't sure he could sell it in New Delhi. We pushed as far as we could toward agreement. Finally, Natwar said that he would take the document to the Prime Minister and let me know," Rice writes in the 784-page book. 

PTI

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