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White House urged to give priority to Indo-US deal

An Indo-American organisation says that the White House should demonstrate its commitment to the deal by according it top priority.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2006 13:14 IST

Amidst concerns that various legislations competing for floor time will squeeze out the Indo-US nuclear bill during the lame-duck session of the US Senate next week, an Indo-American organisation has said the White House should demonstrate its commitment to the deal by according it top priority.

The Coalition for Partnership with India has identified two "immediate hurdles" to getting floor time in the Senate and suggested that the Republicans and Democrats work together to clear the bill.

"Democratic leaders particularly Senator Harry Reid and Senator Joseph Biden and their staffs must identify, analyse, and eliminate duplicates among the 18 amendments proposed to date by members on their side of the aisle.

"The Democratic leaders and their staffs must work with their Republican counterparts to identify amendments that are non-controversial and can be adopted without debate.

Once the number of amendments is reduced to a certain, manageable number, a meaningful discussion for floor time must commence with Senator Frist," the Coalition said in a statement.

It said the White House must signal that the India is a priority.

"We are concerned that other legislation competing for floor time will squeeze ours off the calendar.

Ten appropriations bills are on the agenda. It is critical that the White House demonstrate its commitment to the India bill by making it a top priority," the Coalition said urging all supporters of the deal to make sure their voices are heard.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has assured the External Affairs Minister that the administration would try its best to get Congressional approval for the nuclear deal. Efforts are also on to get the assistance of the Office of the Vice President.

A recent meeting took place between Dr Jaishankar, Joint Secretary in the Americas Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and Samantha Ravich, the Vice President Dick Cheney's deputy national security adviser.

Meanwhile, the Indian American Security Leadership Council, a bi-partisan organisation created to encourage closer ties between India and America, has announced that it is expanding their grassroots efforts to educate five key US states on the US & India Nuclear Cooperation Promotion Act; and to try and get the Senate Bill out of the way prior to the end of the 2006 legislative session.

"We believe that India, the world's largest democracy with over half-a-century of electoral stability, is a growing military and economic force in the region, and can help safeguard American security in a way that no other country in the region can," Ramesh Kapur, Founder and President of the organisation, said in a statement.

"To that end, we are now taking our message to states that have Senators key to making this national security issue a priority before the end of the year."

The Leadership Council is planning its activities in the states of California, Michigan, Illinois, New Mexico and Nevada.