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Senate set to discuss N-deal bill

Richard Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urges colleagues to approve the crucial bill.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2006 14:39 IST

The Senate is all set to start its historic debate and vote on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal as a unanimous consent has been reached on the modalities of how the bill will be piloted through the floor of the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced.

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar issued a statement notifying the formal start of the debate on the deal, with the Indiana Republican even forwarding his opening remarks to the press.

"I urge my colleagues to approve the US-India agreement. This legislation will allow the United States to engage in peaceful nuclear cooperation while safeguarding US national security and non-proliferation efforts as well as Congressional prerogatives.

"It is an opportunity to build a vital strategic partnership with a nation that shares our democratic values and will exert increasing influence on the world stage. We should move forward now," Lugar has said in his prepared text.

But the immediate taking up of the agreement has ran into a hitch of sorts with Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat from North Dakota, opposing debate on the deal in preference to the Agriculture AppropriationsBill which was originally scheduled for the afternoon.

On Tuesday, Senator Conrad agreed to take out his amendment to the Military Construction and Veteran Affairs Appropriations Bill on condition that this will be tagged on to the Agriculture Bill and will be taken up on Wednesday.

First Published: Nov 16, 2006 03:20 IST