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N-separation plan not a dividing issue: PM

PM has said an agreement would be George W Bush's contribution to ending India's isolation from world order.

india Updated: Feb 28, 2006 20:24 IST

Contending that the separation plan under the Indo-US nuclear deal is not a "dividing" issue, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said an agreement on this would be President George W Bush's "great contribution" to ending India's isolation from the world nuclear order.

Manmohan, in an interview to Charlie Rose telecast on the Public Broadcast System, hoped that the agreement on the nuclear pact could be finalised before American leader's arrival in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Asked if he considered separation of India's civilian and military nuclear facilities under the nuclear deal as a major dividing factor between India and the US, Singh said "I would not call it a dividing issue. It is an important issue."

"I recognise the United States has to sell this deal to the Congress. But we also have a Congress. And I have always told our Parliament -- as I mentioned it to the President -- this deal is not about India's strategic programme, what is in discussion is our civilian nuclear programme."

"We have agreed we will have a credible separation between our strategic programme and the civilian programme. Whatever we have committed in our July 18 statement, in letter and spirit, we will fulfil our obligations," he said.

Asked if there was a 90 per cent chance of hope of an agreement, Singh replied, "I certainly hope that," adding that an agreement would be a "great contribution" of Bush "to ending India's isolation from the world nuclear order."

First Published: Feb 28, 2006 18:23 IST