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N-deal to get big approval

india Updated: Jul 21, 2006 03:34 IST

The Senate may be a little slow to act, but it will act decisively in favour of the Indo-US nuclear deal, says John Cornyn, the founder and Republican co-chair of the Senate's 'Friends of India' caucus.

Cornyn on Wednesday conceded that the Senate, unlike the House of Representatives, may vote on the deal only when it reconvenes in September after the summer recess, but stressed that he had no doubt about the big margin of approval.

More and more Senators are said to be coming on board, indicating strong bipartisan support. "Things move slowly in the Senate -- it is the nature of the beast. But I think it (the N-deal legislation) is moving very well. It is getting good bi-partisan support and that to me is an indication that it will be successful," he said.

The White House, meanwhile, is closely watching the developments on Capitol Hill on the issue. "So far the votes have been overwhelmingly in favour in committee, and we'll just have to see how it proceeds," spokesman Tony Snow said.

Cornyn, who was speaking to reporters after an event at which American war veterans urged Congress to endorse the deal, said, "I haven't counted the votes yet but I am confident that before it is all said and done, it will pass by a substantial margin."

As for the concerns raised by India on certain provisions in the Senate bill, Cornyn said the issue could be dealt with when conferees from the Senate and the House set about reconciling the different versions of the bill after they are passed by the two chambers. 

Eight groups of war veterans, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States with 2.4 million members, came out in support of the nuclear deal.

"India, the world's largest democracy, and a growing military and economic force, can help American security interests in this region in a way no other nation in the area can," they said in a full-page ad on 'Roll Call', the Capitol Hill publication devoted to Congressional affairs.