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Time short for Indo-US nuclear deal: White House

world Updated: Jul 08, 2008 15:11 IST

The White House on Tuesday warned that time was running short to ratify a landmark US-India civilian nuclear agreement during US President George W Bush's term, which ends in January.

Speaking on the eve of Bush's talks at this mountain resort with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, spokeswoman Dana Perino said the US Congress had a heavy workload and "a limited number of legislative days."

Perino brushed aside a question about whether Singh was expected to announce that he is ready to move ahead with the agreement, saying it was "premature to say" before the leaders met on the margins of a rich nation summit.

"But obviously we've maintained a strong commitment to carrying through on our side of the deal, and obviously India has had a lot of discussion among its political parties," she told reporters.

"It's been a long road, and there's been a healthy debate," Perino said.

"We'll have to see what he's able to bring on the India civil nuclear agreement," she said. "It could be that he's ready to move forward -- but it also could just as likely be that they have a little bit more work to do."

"But we obviously recognise as well that we have a limited number of legislative days for our congress to get a lot of work done," said the spokeswoman.

Singh on Monday arrived in Toyako, where he was expected to tell Bush he will move ahead on the stalled nuclear cooperation accord despite tough opposition.

Singh and Bush in 2005 unveiled an agreement to share civilian nuclear technology -- a deal that when finalised would see India entering the fold of global nuclear commerce after being shut out for decades.