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N-deal: Berman's new bill identical to Senate version

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September 26, 2008 19:13 IST

In signs of early approval of the Indo-US nuclear deal, Congressman Howard Berman has introduced a legislation on the subject which is exactly identical to the measure adopted overwhelmingly by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Though the Congressional nod eluded Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before his meeting with President George W Bush, the revised version of Berman's bill raises hopes that the deal could be approved any time now.

Berman, who has his own reservations over the deal, introduced in the House of Representatives a new version of his earlier bill which had some provisions like reporting by the President to the Congress which could have sabotaged early Congressional nod for the agreement.

The revised version is expected to be taken up by the House and passed without much problem because of the bipartisan support the deal enjoys in the Congress.

Berman is understood to have brought the second version after Bush Administration officials had talked to him on the need for early nod to the civil nuclear initiative between India and the US.

Yesterday, suspense marked proceedings when Berman introduced the first version as Singh met Bush at the White House during which they were keen to sign the deal entered between them three years ago. But that was not to be in the absence of Congressional nod.

Berman's revised version and the Senate bill have provisions that seek to prevent nuclear cooperation with India in case New Delhi decides to conduct a test. Experts feel that the harmonisation of Berman's bill with the Senate version was an attempt to ensure a quick passage in the House after which it could go to the Senate.

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