The US administration is mounting a full-court press to get the US-India civil nuclear deal through Congress, the State Department said on Tuesday.
“We think there is a possibility of getting it done this year,” said spokesman Sean McCormack.
He said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told her staff that “she wants the full Hyde Amendment package sent to the Hill within the next 24-48 hours.”
And in Delhi, US ambassador David Mulford said the Bush administration would place the deal before the American Congress “very shortly”.
Mulford appeared confident that the deal would be passed.
Currently, the US Congress faces a September 26 deadline to ratify the agreement.
“There are certain documents required to be done, and ... we expect this to be accomplished in the next day or two. The Congress is an independent branch of government… it will decide itself how it is going to proceed.”
Asked whether the pact may be signed during PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US later this month, Mulford said, “I’m presuming if it’s passed by the Congress, it’s an opportunity certainly to sign it, but nothing has been decided and announced.”
About the 30 days required for the accord to lie in Congress, he said: “That is a rule which traditionally can be waived, but… it’s very seldom used.”