'We have to move with Hyde Act'
Amid concerns in New Delhi over the Hyde Act, the US on Tuesday suggested that the "domestic" legislation would have to be taken into account in operation of the civil nuclear cooperation with India.
"The Hyde Act is a domestic legislation (and) the 123 agreement is an international agreement. I think we can move forward with both in a consistent manner," Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher told reporters in New Delhi.
Boucher, who discussed the nuclear deal issue with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, made the comment when asked by reporters whether the Hyde Act would have any bearing on the Indo-US nuclear cooperation.
The comment came amid concerns voiced by the Left parties and BJP over the Hyde Act despite the government's insistence that it will have no bearing on the nuclear deal with the US.
The concerns were heightened after US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said last month that changes in the NSG guidelines, required by India for nuclear commerce with international community, will have to be "completely consistent with the obligations of the Hyde Act".
She had said that Washington would not support India's case if it was contrary to the Hyde Act.
The government has maintained, however, that India would not be bound by the Hyde Act, which contains some "prescriptive and extraneous elements".
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee questioned Rice's comment in a veiled manner in Parliament on Monday as he asserted that India's rights and obligations on civil nuclear cooperation came only from the 123 Agreement.