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India's prime minister sees tough road ahead for nuclear deal with U.S.

India's prime minister sees tough road ahead for nuclear deal with U.S.

India's prime minister has warned that tough negotiations lie ahead if New Delhi is to seal a landmark nuclear energy pact with the United States, preferably before September, newspaper reports said yesterday.
The deal, agreed in principle in 2005, would allow sales of U.S. nuclear equipment and fuel to India, overturning a three-decade ban on such trade with New Delhi. India has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and has tested nuclear weapons.
"I think some tough negotiations will be required before we can see the light at the end of the tunnel," Singh told reporters travelling back with him from Germany where he met U.S. President George W. Bush on the sidelines of the G-8 summit.
"There are some difficulties but I think both of us expressed determination to overcome them. President Bush was much appreciating of our concerns," the Sunday Times reported.
Asked if the deal could be sealed by September, Singh said: "Why September? Why not earlier?," according to a report published in the Hindu newspaper.
Singh's comments follow recent inconclusive talks between top Indian and U.S. officials over what India says are new conditions such as Washington threatening to end nuclear cooperation if New Delhi conducts another nuclear test and refusing to allow reprocessing of spent fuel.
U.S. officials say some of these conditions are required by American laws. But India sees this as a shifting of goalposts and is wary of any compromise in the face of fierce opposition at home from political parties and nuclear experts.
The nuclear deal would help New Delhi meet some of its soaring energy needs and has raised hopes of firming up a new, strategic partnership between the United States and India, a rising Asian power, which were Cold War adversaries.
In a major push last December, Congress in Washington passed an amendment to a U.S. law to allow the deal. But the two sides have since struggled to finalize a bilateral pact that is required to govern the terms of nuclear trade.


Updated : 2021-10-22 16:03 GMT+08:00