The United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in New Delhi on Saturday to ink the India-US nuclear deal.
Rice, officials said, will be meeting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee at Hyderabad House, where the two are expected to sign the deal. Besides Mukherjee, Rice will also be meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Leader of the Opposition LK Advani.
A Bill to give effect to the India-US civil nuclear accord was passed with an overwhelming majority by the US Senate on Thursday.
The “historic” civilian nuclear agreement cements an effort to bring together the world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest continuous democracy, Rice has said. But “that is not the only element of this relationship”, she said on Thursday at a reception for thank those who worked on the agreement. “This is also a friendship based on values, a friendship based on ties, people-to-people ties...”
President Bush is expected to sign the Bill passed by the Senate and earlier by the House into law anytime.
During her meetings, a State Department statement said, Rice will “discuss a wide range of issues, including the US-India civil nuclear cooperation initiative, trade, counter-terrorism, human rights, religious freedom and education”. Once formalities are completed, “we look to the US and Indian private sectors to take the lead in implementing the agreement and beginning cooperation”, said White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he is not aware “of contemplation of a similar deal at this time with Pakistan”.