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PM meets Bush, conveys concerns over nuke deal

Manmohan seeks solutions to objections raised by Parliament over aspects of the new US legislation.

india Updated: Jul 18, 2006 13:59 IST

Seeking "constructive solutions" to "some concerns" of India in the proposed US legislation granting waivers for nuclear commerce, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday met US President George W Bush and pressed for "permanent reconciliation" of these issues.

During the 40-minute meeting, Singh also sought Bush's continued personal support for the successful conclusion of the civil nuclear deal.

"There are some concerns which worry us and worry our Parliament," Singh told US leader at the heavily guarded Konstantinovsky Palace complex.

"We are a democracy and we are accountable to Parliament which zealously keeps a watch on what we do and what we do not do," Singh said.

This was the first meeting between Singh and Bush, who is here for the G-8 Summit, since the US President's visit to India in March this year.

"I sincerely believe that we can find constructive solutions to all these issues," Singh said.

New Delhi has made it clear that it will not accept any legal binding to its voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing and also not make any compromise on its strategic programme.

Recalling his visit to India in March, Bush said the nuclear deal was being worked through the Congress. "It's an important piece of legislation. I am optimistic we'll get that passed," Bush told Singh.

Responding to Bush's remarks, the Prime Minister said, "I deeply appreciate your involvement. There are some concerns which worry us."

The Singh-Bush interaction came close on the heels of the International Relations Committee of the US House of Representatives and the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate giving their nod to the deal, which would pave the way for nuclear supplies to Indian reactors.

India and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had earlier this month held "productive" talks in the Indian capital on the proposed safeguards agreement that is required to be put in place to allow the world community to resume nuclear trade with New Delhi.

Singh thanked Bush for his support and solidarity extended to India in the wake of the Mumbai train blasts and the grenade attacks in Srinagar last week, which killed over 200 people and injured more than 700.

On his part, Bush condemned terrorism anywhere and everywhere in the world. He spoke of the rising concerns in the Middle East as well as the issues relating to Iran and Syria.