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Clock is ticking on nuclear deal: Gates

US Defence Secretary hopes the UPA government will be able to end the domestic deadlock before time expires.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2008 18:22 IST

Pressing for early conclusion of the civil nuclear deal, the US on Wednesday said "the clock is ticking" and hoped the UPA government would be able to end the domestic deadlock on the issue in time.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who held wide-ranging talks with Defence Minister AK Antony in New Delhi, said the nuclear agreement has "positive global consequences" besides serving the interests of both the countries.

"The clock is ticking in terms of how much time is available to get all the different aspects of an agreement implemented," Gates told reporters.

He did not specify any time period during which India needed to take the steps like firming up the IAEA safeguards and seeking waiver from Nuclear Suppliers Group, though Washington has been insisting that these be concluded by July.

Without directly mentioning the stiff opposition by Left parties to operationalisation of the nuclear deal, Gates said the US respects India's internal politics and hopes that the government would resolve the issue in time.

He, however, was quick to add that failure of the nuclear deal would have little impact on the deepening military ties.

The US Defence Secretary met senior BJP leader LK Advani, whose party is also opposing the deal, in an apparent bid to seek his support.

During his two-day stay in India, Gates also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.