Manmohan Singh, Bush may discuss N-deal

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Abuja (Nigeria), Oct 15: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to make a telephone call to U S President George W Bush on Monday night, and may discuss the next steps in the U S-India civilian nuclear deal that was originally signed on July 18, 2005.

The proposed call assumes significance in the wake of statements made by Singh and Sonia Gandhi during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi.

While Dr. Singh said last week that the nuclear deal would not be sacrificed to save the government, Sonia Gandhi said mid-term polls were not on the ruling UPA's agenda inspite of the differences surfacing over the nuclear deal.

The Congress, which heads the ruling coalition, has forcefully advocated the operationalisation of the deal, while the Left, which is lending crucial external support to the government, has opposed it vocerfourously on grounds that it could lead to a compromise of national sovereignty and security.

The Left has also stated that it was against the deal as US domestic law, the Hyde Act was in conflict with the 123 Agreement. And the Hyde Act according to the Left parties was not in the interest of India.

There have been a number of meetings between the Left and the UPA to discuss nuke deal with the Left vehemently against formal negotiations with the IAEA to discuss safeguards.

A joint panel formed by the government which also comprises the Left parties, has been confabulating on the issue. The next meeting is slated for October 22 of the panel.


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