Saran, Burns to rescue N-deal
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Saran, Burns to rescue N-deal

The two officials are meeting in London next week to discuss the deal, which has run into serious trouble.

india Updated: May 17, 2006 12:46 IST

Senior Indian and US officials plan to meet in London next week to try and rescuethe nuclear deal that would give India access to US nuclear energy technology for the first time in three decades.

Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said that he and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran agreed on the talks in a phone call on Tuesday.

"We agreed to meet so as to go over all aspects of the nuclear agreement so that we can move it along on both sides. We agreed to meet next week in London," Burns said in remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He did not specify a day.

The nuclear agreement has run into serious trouble in Washington and New Delhi, where critics on both sides complain that their side got too little and the other side got too much.

In the United States, Congress must approve the deal, which was first agreed in principle by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush on July 18.

Leading Democratic supporter Tom Lantos of California last week said that the accord lacked the support needed to pass and proposed a compromise intended to keep it alive but which could delay the process.

It was a cold dose of reality since the administration, Burns in particular, has been upbeat about quick passage of the agreement, which would radically alter 30 years of US policy designed to punish India because it developed nuclear weapons in contravention of international norms.

Burns said that he would meet Lantos on Wednesday and declined to publicly critique the lawmaker's compromise. Another senior State Department official last week rejected Lantos' proposal to which Burns replied "we feel we have put our best foot forward".

First Published: May 17, 2006 09:06 IST