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There is still hope on nuclear deal, says Manmohan

The Prime minister tells a group of Indian American lobbyists there is still hope for the matter to be resolved.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2007 00:42 IST

Amid continuing standoff with his Left allies on the Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday told a group of Indian American lobbyists that there is still hope for the matter to be resolved.

The eight-member delegation, led by chairman of US India Political Action committee (Usinpac) Sanjay Puri, is currently in India to meet top leaders and officials to get an idea about the status of the civilian nuclear agreement, for which they had intensely lobbied last year in the US Congress.

A member of the delegation, Usinpac director Robinder Sachdeva told IANS that the prime minister was hopeful on being able to go forward on the nuclear deal. "He said that there was time between now and Nov 16, when the Left-UPA panel would be meeting again, to hopefully find a way forward," said Sachdeva.

Indian Americans pointed out that there was concern among US congressmen about the conflicting signals coming from New Delhi on the nuclear deal.

"We pointed out that since the Hyde Act was passed, there are 54 new Congress members following the elections in November 2006. They do not have the background on the passage of the nuclear deal, so there is some sense of concern," said Sachdeva.

The Hyde Act refers to the enabling legislation passed by both the US House of Representatives and Senate last year to modify American domestic legislation to allow nuclear commerce with India, a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Manmohan Singh has been under pressure from his communist allies to scrap the nuclear deal, as they feel that India is aligning itself too closely to American foreign policy.

"There is a feeling on the US side that America has gone the extra mile to get the deal through," added Sachdeva.

The Indian American delegation plans to meet politicians of different hues, from Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Rajnath Singh and Arun Shourie to Left politicians like D Raja of Communist party of India.

"We want to understand what they are trying to say and to convey to Indian Americans and US Congressmen, who were a bit demoralised, that there is still hope for the deal," he said.

First Published: Oct 23, 2007 22:24 IST