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Pranab hopeful of N-deal passage by US Congress

The EAM is also confident about the success of India-Pak secretary-level talks.

india Updated: Nov 13, 2006 19:37 IST

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has expressed hope that the Indo-US nuclear deal will be passed at the lame duck session of the US House of Representatives.

"It is to be seen whether it will be taken in the lame duck session and in what form the legislation is made", the minister said on Monday on the sidelines of the seminar on Defence, Finance and Economics.

George Bush has stated that he would make efforts to get the Senate consider the bill at the lame duck session of the US Congress, which begins from Monday in Washington.

Before the session ends, the Congress would be required to cast its vote on the deal, failing which the bill will lapse bringing its current status to an end. The new Congress will have to begin the legislation afresh.

The bill has the support of many leading Congressmen from both the Democratic and the Republican parties as was evident in committee votes and the floor votes in the House of Representatives.

Despite the blows suffered by the Republicans, Bush has clarified that seeing the deal through was top priority for the administration.

Responding to questions on the India-Pakistan foreign secretary-level talks beginning from Tuesday, Mukherjee said that the talks would comprise a wide range of issues.

"It is a composite dialogue. There's a whole range of issues there for discussion and I hope after these talks one sees a positive result." Secretary-level talks were stalled following the July 11 Mumbai train blasts in which 187 people were killed.

Besides cross-border terrorism, the demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier, where Indian and Pakistani troops have been facing each other since 1984, will be taken up by Shiv Shankar Menon and Rias Mohammad Khan, foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan respectively.

First Published: Nov 13, 2006 19:37 IST