Even as United States President George Bush called for time and patience for implementation of the July 18 civilian nuclear agreement with India, US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns arrived in New Delhi late Wednesday night on a four-day visit to make last ditch efforts to remove any hiccups in the fruition of the deal and prepare ground for his leader's visit from March one to three.
Over the next three days, Burns will have discussions with Indian officials on advancing the new strategic partnership between the two countries. The visit is aimed at resolving the technical matters that divide the Indian and the US negotiating teams on the ticklish issue of separation of India's civilian and military nuclear programmes.
Burns will meet Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran and other senior government officials to discuss the President's visit and further implementation of the initiatives agreed upon in the July 18 joint statement.
Burns, who will be in India till February 25, has already asserted that both India and the US were 90 per cent through with the nuclear deal.
"This has been a uniquely complicated negotiation between two equal parties. But we are committed to it. And as long as both of us show flexibility in the details, I am confident that we will come to an agreement," he was quoted as having said.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma on Wednesday said both countries were mindful of their positions.
"We will be happy if this agreement is reached. Both sides are talking," he said, adding, however, no time frame had been put on concluding the July 18 deal. "We are mindful of our position. I think both the countries are," he told NDTV.
The minister asserted that the government will not take any decision on the issue without the concurrence of the scientist community of the country.
On the eve of the talks, Prime Minister's Scientific Adviser C N R Rao told PTI in New Delhi that India could not agree to putting the Fast Breeder Reactors in the civilian side and that New Delhi could opt out of the deal if the negotiations failed.