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Sridhar Krishnaswami, PTI
Washington, July 23, 2008
Describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's winning the confidence vote as a testament of his "leadership", a former senior US administration official said India and US should now try to finalise the landmark civilian nuclear deal by this year end. "This vote is a testament to Prime Minister Singh's leadership and his strong conviction that the civil nuclear agreement is in the best interests of both countries," said Karl Inderfurth, former Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia in the Clinton administration.

"It would be most preferable to see this agreement finalised before the end of the year. I think we are within striking distance of being able to do so," he told PTI.

"Now that the Indian Parliament has initiated two further steps required to bring this to the US Congress -- namely the IAEA agreement and the Nuclear Supplier's Group -- the deal could be concluded as rapidly as possible," Inderfurth said.

"There are certainly legislative hurdles that would prove daunting but what I think you have here is a convergence of US Congressional support for the nuclear accord as evidenced by the votes taken on the agreement earlier," the former senior State department official who served in the second term of the Clinton Presidency said.

"Now you have the backing of the Indian parliament for Prime Minister Singh; you have the determination of the two leaders to conclude this during President Bush's remaining term in office. And you have the international community largely in favour of this agreement. I think that bodes well for it being approved by the NSG," Inderfurth added.