M A I N   N E W S

N-deal: Bush invites PM to US
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
United States President George W. Bush today telephoned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, primarily to invite him to Washington to resolve certain sticky issues that are still pending on Indo-US nuclear deal.

The Prime Minister accepted the invitation. Manmohan Singh would be travelling to the US this summer on his yet another bilateral visit that could be as historic as his July 2005 visit.

The diplomatic brass of the two countries felt that certain obstacles still remained in the signing of the bilateral 123 agreement. But this camel’s hump could be crossed during Singh-Bush talks after the nuclear deal negotiators have set up the table for the top political leadership.

American point-man on Indo-US nuclear deal Nicholas Burns shocked Indians last month when he openly talked of Washington’s ‘frustration’ in context of the 123 agreement. But in past 20 days, the Indo-US discussions on the nuclear deal have moved from a phase of “frustration” to “finalising as soon as we can”.

After his April 30-May 1 talks with Burns, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon had expressed cautious optimism over the 123 agreement. He said: “I think it’s doable and I’m sure that we can do this, but as I said, we’ve made considerable progress. We still have issues to settle, and until we settle them all, I’d rather not get into saying much.”

The three obstacle issues at the heart of the 123 Agreement are: (i) cap on nuclear tests by India and the US requirement that if testing occurs, US cooperation would be halted, (ii) reprocessing of spent fuel by India, (iii) and the question of prior consent.

There was another issue, which was purely political - US desire that India distances itself from Iran. An unflinching view of the Indian leadership, however, was that nuclear deal and Indo-Iran relations could not be hyphenated. The Indian position was that there was nothing that India was doing with Iran that in any way contravened any of the UN Security Council resolutions. Much of what India did with Iran was what was normal between states and was done by several other states as well.

During their telephonic conversation, Bush and Singh expressed happiness at the strengthening of the bilateral relations and reviewed developments pertaining to negotiations on the civil nuclear cooperation. They also discussed other regional matters. The two leaders also discussed matters pertaining to the agenda of the G-8 Outreach Summit due next month. The Prime Minister conveyed India’s commitment to work with other countries to deal with the problems of climate change and global warming.



CPM seeks assurance from PM on nuke deal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
The CPM today sought fresh assurance from the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of Parliament that India would not succumb to the US pressure on the civilian nuclear cooperation agreement.

CPM leader Mohammed Salim told reporters here that the party has given notices demanding a statement from Prime Minister on a letter of US Senators on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The Prime Minister must assure the house that India will not succumb to the threat given by US senators in the form of a letter, which is insulting to the country.

On the fake encounter case, the party made a fresh demand for a CBI probe to bring out the facts.

There may be more skeletons in the cupboard. Only a CBI probe can bring out the truth, he said.

He accused the main opposition BJP of not allowing the matter to be raised in parliament and said that whenever matters concerning dalits, women and minorities were sought to be raised the saffron party created disturbances in the house.



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