Community urged to widen support base for n-deal

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New York, Apr 17: Efforts were on by various Indian-American organisations to garner support for the landmark Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, which according to them would be vital for ''converging national interests.'' The Indian American Forum for Political Education urged members of the community to write to their respective members in the US Congress seeking their cooperation on the deal.

''On this score, we are all Republicans, we are all Democrats. No partisanship is afoot. What's at stake is a strategic partnership between the United States and India for the 21st century,'' Mr Nilesh Mehta, president of IAFPE, said.

''It would harness the two countries to advance a sweeping array of converging national security interests.'' Mr Mehta's statement recalled the community about US President Richard M Nixon's pioneering visit to China.

''We think that to balk at civilian nuclear cooperation with India would be to squander an opportunity on the international stage as momentous as President Nixon's opening to China,'' he said.

''An American opening to India is the wiser course,'' he added.

In Philadelphia, Congress candidate, running on the Democratic Party ticket from Pennsylvania's 13th district Raj P Bhakta extended his support to the nuclear deal.

He said the deal would strengthen America's alliance with India, which would become the key to greater bilateral cooperation.

''India is a key partner,'' Mr Bhakta said in a statement.

''The alliance between the world's most populous democracy and the world's most powerful democracy is simple common sense, especially given the rapid rise of China with its proven aggressive tendencies. The great democracy of the West must join hands with the great democracy of the East.'' The Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), a community group based in Stamford, Connecticut, claimed the support of Congressman Christopher Shays for the deal.

It organised a meeting at which GOPIO President Thomas Abraham and Deputy Consul General in New York A R Ghanashyam spoke. The Congressman, who delivered the keynote speech at the meeting, said, ''I've always appreciated and stand in awe at the Indian community in the US, its culture and professionalism.'' He said India deserves the permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The Congressman mentioned that New Delhi has been in the forefront in global fight against terrorism.

Mr Shays welcomed the civilian nuclear deal and said, according to a GOPIO statement, ''Since the beginning of the second term of the current Bush administration, there has been a marked change in the US perception of India, which has resulted in a deeper engagement between India and the US.''

UNI

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