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N-deal could be through in two months: US diplomat

04 June, 2006

NEW DELHI: The Bush administration is making every effort to ensure the passage of the civil nuclear deal between India and the US within the next two months, says a senior US diplomat.

"We hope to get the legislation moving and pass it in the next two months. Our Congress is independent but our administration is working on it," said Robert O Blake, deputy chief of mission of the US embassy in New Delhi. Blake was participating in a video conference from New Delhi with the American Centre in Kolkata on Bush’s visit to India and ’New Directions in US-India Relations’.

"We have tried for many years to hold back our nuclear technology. But because of your brain power you still succeeded in becoming a nuclear power. So we have lifted all those nuclear sanctions and the signing of the civil nuclear deal is historic. It is a departure from our over 30 years of policy," Blake said according to IANS.

"We want high technology trade between the two countries," Blake said.

The deal was given a concrete shape during the visit of US President George W Bush to New Delhi in March. When passed by the Congress, it will end a ban on trade with India in nuclear technology and material. Blake said America’s closeness with India was not driven by any ulterior motive but was because of the US foreign policy shift to Asia from Europe owing to issues like democracy, trade, trafficking and terrorism. "You are one of the big stories of 21st century. Your economy is growing at eight per cent and you have a growing middle class," said Blake, urging India to keep the reform process going to meet the challenges.

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