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US Senate could pass N deal by Aug.

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 13 (UNI) The US Senate could pass the Civilian Nuclear deal before August if India moves fast and negotiates safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and keeps Washington's commercial interests in mind, a Congressional delegation said today.

The four-member team, currently on a visit to India, said at a joint press conference here that although the Senate response could not be predicted, it was nevertheless posssible that it (the Senate) could act before August. What India could do was move ahead and negotiate safeguards with the IAEA.

The delegation led by Senator Michael Enzi and including US Secretary for Education Margaret Spellings, Senator Lamar Alexander (also member of the Foreign Relations Committee) and Senator Johny, did not, however, press for India to further define its Minimum Nuclear Deterrent, as recently asked by US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher.

They said India's record in Minimum Nuclear Deterrence was ''well known, consistent and predictable'' throughout for the past 30 years.

''The policy has been consistent...History is the best teacher and the optimism is well-founded. India has never been inconsistent...'' said Senator Alexander in reply to a question.

Asked whether the recent developments in Iran could have an impact on the deal, Senator Enzi denied and said the focus was on Indo-US relations which were unique.

''No...US and India have a unique relationship. The Senate is conscious of this relationship. Our focus is on relations between the US and India,'' he said.

Senator Enzi said President George Bush was seeking a diplomatic solution to the Iran crisis and was working with a number of countries with the hope that continued diplomatic efforts would solve the problem.

He said it was extremely important for all countries to ''weigh the situation'' in Iran and judge in what direction Iran goes.

Senator Alexander said India's consistent policy for the past 30 years was sending ''right signals'' to the US Congress that both could work together. Senator Enzi, pointing out the ''heightened interest'' for India in the US and President Bush's efforts in increasing awareness about India, said the purpose of their visit was to ''see how India had played a role in flattening the world.'' Ms Margaret said relations between India and the US had ''truly come of age'' and the cooperation was not only in the civilian nuclear field but also in education and agriculture.

''We are here to turn attention to higher levels and take a page from your book.'' The delegation which arrived in Bangalore yesterday, flew in here today. They met Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran this morning and visited a novel computer education programme for slum children. The delegation witnessed the first-hand benefits of an education programme to children.

Senator Alexander said that while the US had outsourced jobs to India, it had ''insourced brains,'' mainly from India.

UNI

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