'Timing, not flaws holding up N-deal' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Timing, not flaws holding up N-deal'

Robert Blackwill hopes the deal will be cleared by June end.

india Updated: May 04, 2006 14:31 IST

The clearance of the Indo-US nuclear deal depends more on its timing of approval and not the ironing out of any flaws, former US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill said.

"The US administration hopes the deal will be passed by the end of June. It's a very, very ambitious schedule. It's possible but it's not for sure," Blackwill, who has also served as US President George W Bush's deputy assistant and is considered close to him, said.

"The Congress will go into recess after June and will then reconvene only in September, that too for a very brief period. After that, we will have to contend with a new Congress," he said.

The envoy had played a major role in persuading the Bush administration to go ahead with the nuclear deal.

According to Blackwill, the days ahead were "daunting", but the deal would get legislative approval "because the majority of Congressmen will accept its strategic implications for India-US ties".

"I am quite optimistic. A significant majority in both Houses (of Congress) support the deal as it is currently formulated and with no additions. There is no single major figure in Congress who has come out against the deal and that is significant," the envoy asserted.

At the same time Blackwill also spoke of the implications in case the deal is not approved.

"The people-to-people and business contacts will not be affected, but the two governments will definitely look at each other with suspicion," Blackwill said.

The nuclear deal apart, Blackwill contended that the US "has to take India's views more seriously", adding that their diplomatic activity has to be more "intense" - like it was between Washington and London.

He also issued a warning to keep such serious negotiation out of the newspapers, saying that making serious deals in that case becomes difficult.

"We also need a more robust relationship between our intelligence agencies," he added.

First Published: Apr 26, 2006 17:23 IST