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Critical support for Indo-US nuke deal

The two houses of the Congress are satisfactorily working through language that would guide policy towards India.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2006 13:08 IST
Arun Kumar (IANS)
Arun Kumar (IANS)

The Indo-US nuclear deal has won critical support from two key Congressmen heading foreign relations committees of the two houses of the US Congress days before it comes up for review before the Lower House panel.

US Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Dick Lugar on Friday joined his counterpart in the House of Representatives Henry Hyde in commending the deal scheduled for a "Mark-Up" or review of the text of a supporting bill on June 21.

"A Congressional rejection of the agreement - or an open-ended delay - risks wasting a critical opportunity to begin to expand beyond our Cold War alliance structures to include dynamic nations with whom our interests are converging," said Lugar.

Both Houses of Congress are satisfactorily "working through language that would guide our policy toward India," he said.

It was the strongest statement Lugar has made to date regarding the nuclear agreement, which he called "the most important strategic diplomatic initiative undertaken by President George Bush" and a departure "from the crisis management mentality that has dominated foreign policy" in recent years.

In announcing his decision to support the Indo-US nuclear deal a couple of weeks ago, Lugar's counterpart in the House panel on international relations, Hyde, had expressed confidence that the bill will pass and that he was willing to push it through.

Lugar and Hyde's endorsement of the deal indicates that the Bush administration is nearing the process of building a consensus on the deal in the House and Senate in a bid to get Congressional approval by July-end.

First Published: Jun 17, 2006 09:32 IST