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N-deal: India, US exchange draft plans

Regarding NSG, Foreign Secy Saran says India expects "exceptions" to its status and US is working towards this.

india Updated: May 26, 2006 18:05 IST

India and the US have exchanged the drafts of the agreements that will enable the two countries to implement the bilateral civilian nuclear energy deal, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said.

Addressing a press conference at India House on Thursday after meeting  US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns, Saran said he had handed over the counter draft to the American official.

"The US legislative change is underway. Burns gave me an account of where it stands. The outlook is positive and encouraging. While the US administration is working towards the change in legislation, India is trying to finalise the bilateral Indo-US nuclear cooperation deal that will help towards the legislation. We have studied the draft given by the US and have presented our own draft," he said.

During their meeting, Saran said that Burns had intimated him of the extensive interactions of the members of the administration with Congressmen and the number of interactions he has personally had.

"He said that a personal effort is being made by President George Bush and Secretary of State Condolezza Rice," he added.

Although the Foreign Secretary declined to give a definite time-frame for the final agreement, he quipped the "sooner it came, the better."

Saran stressed that the IAEA needs to have "India-sensitive" safeguards.

"We now have an initial idea of measures of these safeguards," he said, adding there would be "further discussions" during a meeting with the IAEA technical team.

Regarding the state of play with the Nuclear Suppliers Group, he said India expected "exceptions" to the country and the US was working in this regard.