US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Sunday urged India to proceed with a civilian nuclear deal as soon as possible, but acknowledged that domestic political controversy over the deal must be resolved first.
"You all have to work through your own internal political decision. That's up to India," Paulson told reporters after an event highlighting the need to bring more of India's poor into the formal banking system.
"Again, we think this is a very important deal and I would just encourage you to move forward as quickly as possible," Paulson said.
Paulson said the nuclear deal, opposed by some leftist parties in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's coalition government, is something the United States believes is important for India's economic growth, energy security and environmental protection efforts.
As part of a four-day trip to India, Paulson met West Bengal's pro-investment communist chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Paulson did not take questions after the meeting, but had said earlier he was impressed with efforts by the agrarian eastern state to attract new industry.
Paulson travels to Mumbai on Monday and New Delhi on Tuesday for economic conferences and to meet Indian officials, including Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram and the heads of the country's central bank and securities regulator.