Mukherjee meets his Portugal counterpart to seek support in NSG

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New Delhi, July 7 : External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday met his Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado in New Delhi to discuss a host of bilateral and global issues and to gather Portugal's support in the 45-member Nuclear Supplier's Group (NSG) for the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

Amado who is on a three day visit (7-9 July) to India is accompanied by a business delegation.

Reportedly, India aims to gather Portugal's support in the NSG, as the multinational body operates through consensus.

Portugal like other countries of European Union had earlier said that unless India concludes its safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it would not take any stand on the issue.

Following year long confusion over the nuclear deal, it now appears that nuclear deal is on route, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has left for Japan to attend G8 summit where he may formally press ahead with the civilian nuclear deal with the United States.

Also, the government has managed to gather crucial political support as an alternate in case left parties opposing the nuclear deal, withdraw their support.

The deal would give India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and technology and will move the Asian giant's trade and diplomatic relations closer to the West.

It is potentially worth billions of dollars to U.S. and European nuclear supplier companies and would give India more energy alternatives to drive its booming economy.

Besides this, Mukherjee was also likely to discuss the issues connected with intensification of bi-lateral business ties with the Portuguese minister.

Luis Amado will meet Chief Minister of Goa, Digamber Kamat on Tuesday to renew cultural ties with former Portugal colony.

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