MEA delines comment on Rice's remark about Hyde Act

Updated on Feb 15, 2008 11:00 PM IST
India declines comment on Condoleeza Rice's remark that the US will support an agreement between New Delhi and NSG only if it is consistent with the Hyde Act.
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PTI | By, New Delhi

India on Friday declined comment on Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's remark that the US will support an agreement between New Delhi and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) only if it is "consistent" with the Hyde Act.

"I don't want to hazard guesswork on this. I have seen the statement in newspapers. If we have a response or a statement, we will put it out. I don't have it today," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna told reporters when asked to react to Rice's comment.

Rice told House Foreign Affairs Panel on Thursday that the Bush administration will "support nothing with India in the NSG that is in contradiction to the Hyde Act. It will have to be completely consistent with the obligations of the Hyde Act."

"We'll have to be consistent with the Hyde Act or I don't believe we can count on the Congress to make the next step," Rice said in response to a query from the Chairman of the panel Howard Berman.

Under the civil nuclear agreement, the US has promised to help India at the 45-nation NSG in getting a waiver for trade with the international community in the atomic field.

The government maintains the Hyde Act, which has some "prescriptive" clauses, would not be binding on India.

As the government remained silent, the BJP said Rice's statement confirmed its fears on the deal and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to apologise for "misleading" the nation.

The Congress sought to downplay Rice's comment, saying the assurances given by the Prime Minister would be fulfilled.

Congress spokesman Shakil Ahmed said the commitments given by Singh in Parliament will not be violated.

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