In a sign that the India-US nuclear deal was set to sail through domestic obstacles, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Friday lauded American ambassador David Mulford for taking relations between the two countries to “new heights” and assured him of “full satisfaction” at the end of his tenure.
“India and the US have forged a close relationship. You have taken the India-US relations to new heights,” Mukherjee, who was the chief guest at the Fourth of July celebrations at the American embassy here, said Friday night.
Lauding Mulford for enriching India-US ties in manifold ways, Mukherjee also assured the envoy that he will have “full satisfaction” as he nears the end of his tenure in India this year - a clear indication that the Indian government was planning to to go ahead with the nuclear deal.
There was, however, no mention of the nuclear deal in the speeches of either Mukherjee or Mulford.
Mulford, too, was generous in his praise for Mukherjee, whom he termed as a “constructive force” driving the India-US relations.
Mukherjee’s presence at the function came as a surprise to many as it is not usual for an Indian external affairs minister to attend the national day celebrations of any country. Back in the 1980s, the minister would attend such functions, but this hasn’t happened for quite some time, recalled a veteran diplomat.
Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, too, surprised many by turning up at the Roosevelt House, the residence of the American ambassador, for the function.
The Samajwadi Party, with 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha, holds the key to the government's survival if the Left parties withdraw their support in case it goes ahead with the nuclear deal.
TheSanajwadi Party has indicated it is likely to support the government in case of a split with the Left parties.