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Bush, India hail passage of nuclear deal

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September 28, 2008 10:49 IST
US President George W Bush has hailed the House of Representatives' adoption of the Indo-US nuclear deal as "another major step forward" in achieving transformation of bilateral ties and urged the Senate to take up and pass the "important" legislation quickly prior to its adjournment.

"I congratulate the House of Representatives for passing HR 7081, the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Non-proliferation Enhancement Act.

"The passage of this legislation by the House is another major step forward in achieving the transformation of the US-India relationship," President Bush said in a statement last night.

He thanked the members of Congress who helped pass the legislation, especially House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman and Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

In addition, Bush said, "I would like to recognise the contributions of two great Americans and legislators, Congressmen Tom Lantos and Henry Hyde, who saw early on the importance of a strategic partnership with India and of bringing the people of our two great nations together through this initiative."

"I urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this important piece of legislation before their October adjournment. Signing this bipartisan bill will help strengthen our partnership with India," the US President said.

The House of Representatives passed the Berman Bill (HR 7081) by a 298 to 117 margin in a vote last night. A two-thirds majority was required on the Bill that was taken up under the suspension of rules.

India too has welcomed the US House of Representatives' adoption of the Indo-US nuclear deal saying it was a matter of great satisfaction.

National Security Advisor M K Narayanan, who is accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the US, expressed the hope that the Bill gets cleared in the Senate sooner than later rather than wait for the next session.

Asked by reporters about the Senate approval, he said, "I'm told they will get around it".

Indian Ambassador to the United States Ronen Sen on Sunday said the Indo-US nuclear deal was in the last lap and the civil nuclear agreement is good for both the countries.

"We are really in the last stage of the historic step which enjoys bi-partisan support in US Congress. It is good for India and the US," he told reporters.

Asked about the Senate passing the Bill, he said he did not want to comment on the internal political process but added, sooner the better.
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