More takers for nuke pact
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More takers for nuke pact

While the timing of the US Congress? vote on the nuclear deal remains a moot point, three prominent Senators and six Representatives have come out in broad support of the pact.

india Updated: May 06, 2006 02:14 IST

While the timing of the US Congress’ vote on the nuclear deal remains a moot point, three prominent Senators and six Representatives have come out in broad support of the pact.

The US India Political Action Committee, which has been lobbying actively on Capitol Hill on the issue, said on Friday that Senate majority leader Bill Frist, former majority leader Trent Lott and Appropriations Committee chairman Thad Cochran have indicated their support. On the House side, the members to announce support include Republicans Mike Bilirakis, Joe Knollenburg, Kay Granger and Lynn Westmoreland, and Democrats Gregory Meeks and Adam Smith, the USINPAC said in a statement.

A question mark, however, hangs on the issue as to when the two chambers of Congress will hold their full debate and vote on the deal. The Bush administration and Indian activists are keen to see the pact approved by June, but some Representatives have voiced doubts on whether it will happen before Congressional elections in November.

The Senate House Relations Committee and House Relations Committee are in the process of holding hearings. The House panel holds its next round of hearing on May 11, when it will examine experts for and against the pact.

The statement quoted Frist as saying: "I am encouraged by the fact that this agreement will, for the first time, require a majority of India's nuclear reactors to be placed under international safeguards. This agreement will help bring India into the non-proliferation mainstream, improve nuclear safety and strengthen their export controls." However, First is also going along with the view that Congress has to further review and understand details of the agreement.

First Published: May 06, 2006 02:14 IST