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Hearings before tabling nuke bill

The Bush administration had hoped to table the bill in both the Senate and the House of Representatives this week.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2006 01:44 IST

It will be some more rounds of hearings before a bill on the Indo-US nuke deal is tabled in the two chambers of the US Congress, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Richard Lugar indicated.

The Bush administration had hoped to table the bill in both the Senate and the House of Representatives this week.

"We will not take any action in the Committee or the Congress this week," a report quoted Lugar as saying. The Republican Senator from Indiana also told 'India Abroad': "Some of my colleagues may have amendments. They may have other suggestions."

Lugar's remarks have come close on the heels of House International Relations Committee chairman Henry Hyde's indications on Monday that the US Congress "may seek conditions" for approving the civil nuclear pact.

Lugar, otherwise known for his strong position on non-proliferation matters, is expected to introduce the bill to amend the Atomic Energy Act, 1954 for an India-specific waiver to give effect to the deal.

On the House side, Hyde has already announced that he and ranking Democrat Tom Lantos will introduce the enabling legislation at the request of the Bush administration.

Hearings by the House panel are slated to begin later this month.

While Hyde's talk of "conditions" without any elaboration may have given rise to certain misgivings, official circles are not unduly worried.

First Published: Mar 15, 2006 01:43 IST