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Govt committed to N-deal: Ronen

Top Indian diplomat Ronen Sen maintains that New Delhi is only bound by the bilateral 123 agreement that has been worked out by the two countries.
PTI | By Sridhar Krishnaswami, Washington
UPDATED ON MAR 13, 2008 10:50 AM IST

The government of India is "committed" to the civilian nuclear deal with the US, the top Indian diplomat in Washington has said, maintaining that New Delhi is only bound by the bilateral 123 Agreement that has been worked out by the two countries.

Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen's comments come ahead a crucial UPA-Left committee on the nuclear deal on March 17 in the face of an ultimatum by the Government's Communist allies to make its stand clear on the agreement.

Sen emphasised that the governments in both the countries will have to go through the "democratic process" before taking decisions and that neither of the parties would want to "lecture" the other on what it should or should not do.

"As far as the status of the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement is concerned... I would like to say clearly and categorically that the Government is committed to that," Sen told a large gathering at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies' India Initiative programme of George Washington University.

"There is still work in progress. We are a democracy and there are certain processes which have to be over and that is not complete; and we have to take subsequent steps from international forums," he said referring to the safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency and an exemption from the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

The safeguards agreement, alongwith the NSG waiver, is a prerequisite to operationalise the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

"We hope that these steps will be completed as soon as possible so that this agreement will come into force," the top Indian official said.

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