Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said a nuclear reprocessing pact with the US will be finalised in a “couple of weeks,” expressing confidence that the two countries “can not only continue but also strengthen the momentum of our relations built up in the last few years.”
Singh’s comments were sought on the failure of the two countries to conclude the pact that is necessary for the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement to take off.
India had expected the pact to be through during Singh’s Washington visit, but some tough negotiations by the US blocked a deal.
While both countries made progress in negotiations on climate change, technology transfer and counter terrorism initiatives, the nuke deal and contentious issues in the defence cooperation, particularly the Logistics Supports Agreement (LSA) remained inconclusive as Singh concluded his state visit to the US.
Singh, however, chose to emphasise the positives of his tour — the first after he returned to power in the May, and after Barack Obama took over as US president.
“We have had a very good discussion at the highest levels. I have been assured by the US leadership that the US remains committed to the early implementation of the civil nuclear agreement. There are minor problems with regard to the reprocessing (of the spent) fuel under the 123 agreement. I think there are no insurmountable problems. I’m confident that in the next couple of weeks we can sort out issues," the PM told a press conference.
Singh dismissed suggestions that the objectives of his visit were not met. “I am very satisfied. After the meetings with president Obama, VP (Joe) Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other US leaders, I am convinced that India and US can and will do a lot of things together,” the PM said.