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No Change in Civilian Nuclear aggrement: Rice

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 7: The United States has assured India that the Civilian Nuclear agreement would remain within the framework of the July 18 Joint Statement.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a delegation of Indian Members of Parliament in Washington that whatever agreement goes through, would be within the framework of the July 18, 2005, agreement, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Ms Rice also expressed hope that the deal would go through in the near future.

This is in contrast to what Ms Rice had told the delegation on Tuesday that India should be prepared to see some ''changes or amendments'' to the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation deal before it is endorsed by the US Congress.

These ''changes or amendments'' would be carried out within the parameters of the deal to ensure that it was not re-negotiated, Ms Rice is understood to have told the visiting Indian Parliamentary delegation during a 30-minute meeting at the State Department.

India promptly rejected the suggestion saying New Delhi remained committed to the July 18, 2005, Joint Statement.

''The government of India's position remains the same. Its commitments are those that are outlined in the July 18, (2005), Joint Statement,'' an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said.

The nine-member delegation of Indian Parliamentarians, concluding a six-day visit to the US, covering New York, Washington and Atlanta, found a very positive sentiment in the US towards India, according to the CII. ''In fact, there was excitement amongst all persons and organisations, governmental and non governmental, about the new level of Indo-US relationship,'' said a release issued by the CII which had organised the visit.

The Delegation met a cross-section of people including the Secretary of State, officials of The Pentagon, National Security Council, think-tanks, health research agency, business organisations, (NYSE/USIBC), media and Indian Americans.

''This positive sentiment pervaded through the entire range of discussions,'' it said.

The members of the delegation included Mr B J Panda (BJD), Mr Deepender Singh Hooda (INC), Mr. Madhu Goud Yaskhi (INC), Mr Manvendra Singh (BJP), Mrs Prema Cariappa (INC), Mrs Preneet Kaur (INC), Mr Sachin Pilot (INC), Mr Shahid Siddiqui (Samajwadi Party) and Mr Suresh Prabhu (Shiv Sena).


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