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Senate to take up N-deal after summer recess

india Updated: Jul 19, 2006 03:26 IST
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A top American lawmaker has said that the Senate will not be taking up the Indo-US civil nuclear deal before the chamber breaks for the summer recess on August 4.

"No. I hope after that," the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar told a group of journalists at the end of his formal address to the Indian American Friendship Council, celebrating its tenth anniversary in Washington.

The Republican lawmaker said the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has not scheduled a vote on the United States-India deal.

The impression has been that the House of Representatives will be taking up the legislation sometime next week before breaking off for its summer recess on July 28 and that the Senate could consider the same thereafter.

In the course of his formal remarks, Lugar stressed that while there are some in the State Department and the Indian Foreign Office who maintain that Congress changed the language of the agreement that was agreed upon, the changes are "constructive" and hoped that even if they are "controversial", the leaders on the two sides will not delay.

Earlier, in his brief remarks to the Indian American Friendship Council Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska also made the point that the civilian nuclear deal may not be taken up by the Senate before the August recess.

In his formal remarks, Lugar said, "Now there are some in our state Department, there are some in the Indian Foreign Office who say, "listen, those Senators, those members of the House changed the language here a little bit. This is not exactly what we signed on to. What about this little addition here and that one there?"

"... This is the deliberative process. I would counsel that I believe the changes are constructive; but even if they are controversial, I am hopeful that statesmen on both sides, India and the United States, will not be so adamant that somehow or other this is delayed."