The overwhelming support from the International Committee of the House of Representatives to the India-US nuclear agreement is largely thanks to the positive perception of India among the lawmakers, a visiting foreign policy expert from the US said in Chennai on Thursday.
Tuesday's green signal "had a lot to do with the view of India in the US Congress... how the members perceived India," Robert G Sutter of the Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Washington DC, told an audience of Indian strategic experts.
He said he was "pleasantly surprised" by the 37-5 majority with which a bill was passed, paving the way to give New Delhi access to nuclear know-how after 30 years.
"This piece of legislation (the bill allowing the India-US nuclear cooperation agreement) is on a fast track," the expert said, adding: "It may be approved even before Congress goes into recess (in August)."
Referring to the earlier decades that saw great swings in the India-US relations, he said: "Those days are over. India is just too important for America."
The greater bilateral ties were a "natural development", and "India fits right into the US scheme of things," the expert said.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was the "moving force" behind enhanced India-US relations and greater cooperation between the two counties, said Sutter, anticipating an added momentum to bilateral relations if she became the next president.