US President George W Bush assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he was "working hard" to push the Indo-US nuclear deal through the Congress as the two leaders met here today but were unable to ink the agreement in the absence of a Congressional nod.
Singh flew in from New York for the meeting with Bush at the Oval Office in the White House with expectations in the Indian side that the Congress would have completed the business of legislating on the deal the two leaders entered into in July, 2005.
"We are working hard to get it (the deal) passed as quickly as possible," Bush told Singh.
"It's in the US interest to have a good strong strategic relationship with India," the President said at the meeting which started 20 minutes later than the scheduled time as Bush was engaged in talks with presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain on the financial crisis in the US.
India has suffered a lot for the past 34 years because of the "nuclear apartheid", the Prime Minister said and hoped the deal will be approved for the benefit of both the countries.
During the 45-minute meeting, Bush said the nuclear agreement has taken a lot of work for both the countries and told Singh that he has worked hard.
Both leaders acknowledged what Singh called the "enormous transformation" of the bilateral ties for the better.
Bush also appreciated Singh for his brief on a range of issues, including the situation in India's neighbourhood which will help the US to formulate its policies.