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US not to shift goal posts under nuclear deal: Bush

Bush assures Manmohan US will not go "beyond" the reciprocal commitments reached last July. Manmohan at G8 Summit

india Updated: Jul 17, 2006 23:56 IST

In a significant statement assuaging Indian concerns that Washington was shifting goal posts in the nuclear deal, President George W Bush on Monday assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that US will not go "beyond" the reciprocal commitments reached last July.

During a 30-minute meeting with Singh at the high security Konstantinovsky Palace complex, Bush expressed optimism that the deal would go through with the US Congress finalising the requisited legislation in the next few weeks.

Keen to see the early conclusion of the pathbreaking agreement, Singh conveyed New Delhi's worrying concerns over the proposed American legislation granting waivers for nuclear commerce and sought permanent "constructive solutions".

Certain elements in both the bills passed by the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee appear to go beyond the reciprocal commitments, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran told reporters while briefing them on Singh's hectic engagements during the day.

India's reservations in the Senate bill relate to possible restrictions on reprocessing and enrichment. Absence of clear mention of India-specific Safeguards Agreement in the IAEA was another concern, he said, adding "end-use verification" clause also went beyond the agreement.

It has been conveyed to American interlocutors that the two sides should stay with the parametres of the July 18 agreemeent, he said. 

Political parties in India, including the Left allies of the UPA coalition, have attacked certain provisions in the bill which they said cannot be accepted by India. They also attacked the Government of kowtowing to Washington on the issue.

Saran said it would be fair to wait and see what final shape the bill would take before coming to a conclusion.

"There are some concerns which worry us and our Parliament," Singh told Bush while ponting out that "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 raised the issue of terrorism with Bush who strongly condemned the recent blasts in Mumbai and Srinagar and extended complete solidarity of the US with India in dealing with the scourge.

The Singh-Bush chemistry came to the fore with the American President praising the Indian Prime Minister. "It's always a pleasure to be in your company. The Prime Minister is one of the really true gentlemen in the international arena. He's got a wonderful heart," Bush said.

The Prime Minister had separate meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Japanese Prime Miniser Junichiro Koizumi.

He also joined the first ever trilateral meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Putin during which they expressed their strong interest in the emergence of a multipolar world and multilateralism, Saran said.

He, however, made it clear that the three countries coming together was in no way directed against any third country. The focus of the discussions was on terrorism, drug trafficking, crime and other challenges confronting these countries, he said.

Foreign Ministers of the three countries will meet in India later this year. Their first-ever business summit would also take place in India this year.

At the meeting of the five outreach countries comprising India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, global challenges, including terrorism figured prominently.

Saran said the leaders sent a clear message that acts of terrorism would be dealt with a firm hand and those sponsoring it would also not be tolerated.

During the four-and-a-half hour interaction with a working lunch, Singh said while globalisation was an irreversible process, the mechanisms of managing it left a great deal to be desired.

On the issue of energy security, Singh warned that this could not be built on perpetuation of poverty. There was need for an effective strategy for diversification of energy supplies.

Singh also underpinned the importance of international guidelines and rules being "adjusted" to enable countries like India to have access to energy.