HT Image
HT Image

Indo-US biz lobby to keep pressing for N-deal

The American business lobby vows to keep working for speedy Congressional approval of the 123 Agreement.
IANS | By Arun Kumar, Washington
UPDATED ON OCT 18, 2007 02:41 PM IST

Even as India has put its civil nuclear deal with the US apparently on hold, the American business lobby has vowed to keep working for speedy Congressional approval of the 123 Agreement.

It would do so as soon as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) provide the green signal, the US-India Business Council made up of 300 largest US companies seeking more trade with India said Wednesday.

USIBC remains confident that the nuclear deal will be successfully concluded, the advocacy group's President Ron Somers told the Coalition for Partnership with India, an umbrella group of business leaders, Indian Americans and security experts supporting the deal.

USIBC also looks forward to working closely with Indian industry to mobilise the massive investment required to achieve India's infrastructure build-out, estimated to cost $500 billion over the next decade, he said. "The US-India civilian nuclear accord will open the floodgates of opportunity that will propel India's growth far into the 21st century - India's century.

"I take encouragement from the recent statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the deal will happen eventually, and from comments from prominent members of the Congress, who have affirmed that the deal is too important to let fail," Somers said.

"This indicates to me that while more time may be necessary for consensus to be achieved supporting the merits of the deal, the technology denial regime imposed on India for decades will finally come to an end. This is good for India, good for the US, and good for the entire world."

This expression of confidence comes in the face of India telling the US about "certain difficulties" in the operationalisation of the deal that has ran into trouble with the Indian government's leftist allies.

As part of USIBC's advocacy initiative, Patton Boggs, a Washington DC-based public policy and lobbying company, "will continue to work with the Congress to ensure speedy approval of the 123 Agreement, as soon as the IAEA and Nuclear Suppliers' Group provide the green signal", said Somers.

Already India is a global leader in high technology. The nuclear deal will end India's nuclear isolation and enable India to become a global champion of the nuclear renaissance, combating global climate change, he said.

Meanwhile, the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), a leading Indian-American group, is sending a delegation of business and community leaders to "assess the perspectives of all stakeholders in the Indian system - political and technical" on the deal.

It would provide an Indian audience with the viewpoints of key Indian-Americans who were actively involved in the public discussion of the nuclear exemption for India in the US, it said, recalling the community's role in this effort.

The USINPAC delegation leaving for India Oct 19 plans to meet with Indian government officials and representatives of Indian industry to discuss recent developments surrounding the nuclear deal.

"USINPAC remains upbeat that the US-India nuclear deal will be seen through to its conclusion in a form that makes the best sense for both the US and India," the group's chairman Sanjay Puri said.

"The deal ushered in a new strategic relationship between the United States and India. There is too much at stake for both countries and the rest of the world to walk away from this critically important relationship," he said.

USINPAC said it believes that the nuclear deal is good for the energy security of both countries, and hence their respective national security interests. It is an agreement that makes economic sense for both countries, and frees India from its nuclear isolation. Further, it bolsters the global non-proliferation system by making India a fully vested partner.

Story Saved