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N-deal bound by 123 agreement: US

The US has reiterated that the civilian nuclear initiative with India is bound by the 123 agreement and not the Hyde Act.

world Updated: Apr 24, 2008 14:48 IST

The US has reiterated that the civilian nuclear initiative with India is bound by the 123 agreement and not the Hyde Act.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Richard Boucher rejected the notion that he has somehow dodged the issue in the past.

"No, I didn't," Boucher said in response to a query. "We don't see any inconsistency between the Hyde Act and the 123 agreement. The requirements of US law are on us to meet. The essential function of the Act is to to enable a nuclear deal with India, because otherwise under American law we were prohibited from doing anything with India," the senior State Department official said.

"And so the Hyde Act is what makes it possible for us to sign this deal and conclude the agreement. The agreement binds the US and India once it's fully ratified and finished," he added.

"We don't see any inconsistency between what we were allowed to do and required to do under the Hyde Act, but what binds India and the United States together is the 123 agreement, not the act," Boucher maintained.

The senior official also stressed that the civilian nuclear deal with India is not a political issue so far as the Republicans and the Democrats are concerned but what has to be borne in mind is the political calendar in the US in the context of the elections and that the Bush administration is indeed worried about this.

"I don't think it is so much of a political issue, though. If you look at any of the major candidates in both parties, there's been very strong support for the US-India relationship and a desire to see this move forward on a bipartisan basis, including in the nuclear area," Boucher said.

The senior State Department official was giving his perceptions of the year ahead in America's relations with South and Central Asia making the point that there is indeed a "lot" going on.

"There's still a strong sense of momentum in the US-India relationship because there are so many areas of cooperation -- in business, science and academia -- even though some things, like the nuclear deal are slowed down as we await the outcome of the political process in New Delhi," Boucher said in his opening remarks.

"So I think we're still working very hard on a lot of different aspects of this relationship and hope to be able to work hard on the civil nuclear agreement when the Indians say the time has come to move forward again," he added.