India and the US on Wednesday agreed to maintain the "momentum" to operationalise the civilian nuclear deal after the two countries recently hammered out a draft agreement breaking the logjam on some key issues.
<b1>In the first high-level contact between the two countries after the draft agreement was concluded last month breaking the logjam on some key issues, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Deputy US Secretary of State John Negroponte discussed in detail the next steps for implementing the '123' agreement.
Mukherjee met Negroponte on the sidelines of the ongoing Asean Ministerial Meeting and the Asean Regional Forum in the Phillipines Capital.
"On our side, we discussed the India specific IAEA agreement and the Nuclear Suppliers Group guidelines which are to be suitably amended," official sources said after the 35-minute meeting.
"Both sides agreed that the momentum established by the the (draft) agreement should be kept up to enable to achieve the objectives," the sources said.
The two leaders agreed that high level consultations between India and the US should be held frequently so that new opportunities between them could be further tapped.
They also discussed wide ranging issues including the Afghan situation, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and West Asia in general. "The two also assessed the situation in Iran," the sources said.
Mukherjee had a hectic day ahead of the high profile Asean Regional Forum meeting on Thursday.
He had bilateral meetings with his Japanese counterpart Taro Aso, EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, Russian foreign minister Seegey Lavrov and Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi.
<b2>The minister's talks with all the leaders covered issues ranging from climate change and bilateral trade opportunties to Indo-US nuclear deal.
"The talks between the minister and Russia's Lavrov was basically stocktaking after President Putin's January visit to India as the two sides looked at opportunities at expanding bilateral trade," the sources said.
The two leaders also stressed the need to ensure that the proposed Russian culture year in India and the Indian culture year in Russia were successful so that the traditional close ties between New Delhi and Moscow was made known to the new and younger generation in both the countries.
In his talks with the Japanese foreign minister, Mukherjee discussed the upcoming visit of Japanese premier Shinto Abe to India later this month. The two leaders discussed at length the flagship Japanese freight corridor project, the industrial corridor project and energy cooperation.
"Japan is one of the few countries which manages energy efficiently," the sources said.
The two leaders recognised that India's rapid economic growth offered investment opportunities for Japanese companies and Japanese investments in India. The issue of climate change also came up.