Maintaining that it is committed to the Indo-US nuclear deal, the US on Thursday sought to push the ball into India's court saying it was for the country's leadership to decide on the pact.
However, the US expressed confidence that the deal could be concluded in the near future in realisation of the Congressional time lines.
"... This administration has been firm in its support for this -- this deal. It continues to be so. Right now we're at a situation where this is with the Indian government and literally with the Indian people. This is a matter for them to decide and then follow through with," acting Spokesman Gonzolo Gallegos replied when asked if the Initiative is "close to dead".
"We consistently stated that we stand behind this, that we continue to support it, and that we would like to move apace in terms of proceeding with it," he added.
"I think, however, there's -- you know, the bottom line is, is a reality of the congressional calendar that has to be dealt with. We do hope that can continue and possibly conclude this in the near future," he said.
Asked whether the deal can be formalised before the end of the Bush administration the official replied, "I would be the last one -- if my boss and my boss's boss are loathe to commit to date, I fear it even more than they do".