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US hopes India keeps discussing 123 pact

America expects India to continue the N-deal despite the arrest of two Indians in the missile tech transfer case.

world Updated: Apr 04, 2007 15:16 IST

The United States expects India to continue to negotiate in good faith the bilateral 123 agreement for their civil nuclear deal despite the arrest of two Indians on charges of supplying missile technology to India.

"Certainly, the United States will," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Tuesday adding, "I don't see any connection between these two things."

US Undersecretary of State Nick Burns, Washington's key negotiator for the nuclear deal, he said had got "a little bit of feedback" from the American team that has come back after a round of talks in New Delhi on the 123 agreement.

"I expect that he's going to be in touch with the Indian government about what course we take now. Certainly we're serious about that. We want to ensure that the Indian government is still serious about concluding this agreement," McCormack said.

Asked if the case was a serious matter, he said, "Well, any time you have allegations of violations of the Arms Export Control Act, which is the law under which these indictments were made, it is a serious matter."

"And certainly our law enforcement officials state very seriously their obligation to enforce the laws and in this case they have unsealed a 15-count indictment against these two individuals. And in the indictment, there's a formal list of the charges. But, of course, we take this very seriously."

Asked if the Pakistani government had raised any concerns about the case, McCormack said, "Not that I'm aware of. They may well have, but I'm not aware of any concerns they've raised."

Meanwhile, the Indian head of an electronics supply company Parthasarathy Sudarshan on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges he shipped US computer technology to India for use in missiles and other weapon systems.

Sudarshan, 46, founder of Cirrus Electronics, a company with offices in South Carolina, Singapore and India, and Mythili Gopal, 36, the company's international sales manager were arrested Mar 23 in South Carolina. A Washington court on Tuesday scheduled a status hearing for them on April 17.

First Published: Apr 04, 2007 11:57 IST