PM set to discuss nuke deal with Bush despite Left threat

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New Delhi, Jul 4 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is all set to discuss the nuclear deal with US President George Bush on the sidelines of the G-8 Summit in Toyko in Japan on July 9 notwithstanding the Left's threat to withdraw support to his four-year-old government if it went ahead with the deal.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon told mediapersons here today the Indo-US nuclear agreement will come up for discussion during their meeting.

The four Left parties set July 7 deadline for the withdrawal of support to the UPA government in case it did not respond to their query as to when the government is approaching the Board of Governors of the IAEA to execute the deal. But the Congress, which heads the coalition government, rejected the Left's demand, dubbing it ''desperate and absolutely impulsive''.

The Prime Minister leaves for Japan on July 7 to attend the rich nations' summit. However, Dr Singh leaves home with the support to the nuke deal extended by Samajwadi Party which has 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha as against a strength of 59 commanded by the Left.

Asked if the Prime Minister will urge the US President to get India the mandatory waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Foreign Secretary replied in the affirmative and added infact the United States is committed to get India the necessary exemption from the NSG as per the July, 2005 agreement on the civil nuclear deal between the two nations.

Mr Menon said India's participation in the Group of Eight Summit will also provide the country an opportunity to interact with other members of the NSG and the Prime Minister, during bilaterals with such leaders, will also discuss the NSG waiver with them.

Prime Minister's special envoy on the nuke deal Shyam Saran has already stated that India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency is almost ready and will be concluded on receiving the political go-ahead.

On US Senator Gary Ackerman's remarks on the tight timeline for concluding the nuclear deal, Mr Menon quipped; "I have never commented on timelines (in the past), I will not comment now." Mr Saran has, however, said there is still enough time for going through the remaining three stages before the deal is operationlised. Besides the IAEA safeguards agreement, India has to get the NSG's clearance and the approval of the US Congress.

(Eds: Pick up from opening para of DI 32 External-G8-PM two New Delhi).


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