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Indo-US N-deal: Bush compliments Manmohan

During the meeting, Bush complimented Manmohan Singh for his role in negotiating the agreement.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2006 04:25 IST

Swinging into action to secure Congress approval for the Indo-US nuclear deal, President George W Bush had an hour-long focussed discussion with top lawmakers to know their major concerns and sought their backing for the pact.

During the meeting at the White House on Tuesday, Bush complimented Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his role in negotiating the agreement.

He said the Indian leader "brought up no commitments" on the Iranian pipeline issue, according to Democrat Gary Ackerman who was present during the discussion.

At least 14 lawmakers from the House of Representatives and the Senate, including Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, attended the meeting.

Also present were Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, who was the Bush Administration's pointman in clinching the deal during Bush's visit to India last week.

In a statement, Ackerman, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans and senior member of the House International Relations Committee, said the President wanted to know the major concerns of Congress during the discussion.

"The President asked what the main concerns are in Congress. I told him that the main difficulty was that he must for the first time seek an exemption from the House and the Senate in order for the nuclear agreement to be concluded since India is not a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). President Bush listened very carefully to all that was said and he seemed to appreciate the input," Ackerman said.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 20:09 IST