Burns to do what’s most effective for nuclear deal: US

Washington, May 18 (IANS) The US says its key negotiator for the civil nuclear deal with India, Nicholas Burns, will decide when to visit New Delhi and do what is “appropriate and most effective” to get the deal done.

As of now Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, has no travel plans to go to India as the work on the implementing bilateral 123 agreement is not completed yet, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Thursday.

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“We are working on it. We are making progress on it. It’s not completed yet. But I understand that over the course of the past several weeks there have been some positive discussions on concluding that agreement,” he said.

The US certainly wants to do that and “We understand from the Indian government that they want to conclude that agreement as well,” McCormack added.

There is, he said, a commitment in Washington to get this agreement done. “We would like to do it sooner rather than later, but these are important issues. They’re important issues for us. They’re important issues for India.

“They’re important issues for the international system that deals with matters of non-proliferation and nuclear energy. So we want to get it done in a timely manner, but we also want to get it done right,” McCormack said .

Commenting on a media report citing a State Department official as suggesting that Burns will go to New Delhi when the deal was done, he said, “Nick’s going to do what he thinks is appropriate and most effective in order to get a deal done.

“And at what point he travels to India, he’s going to make that call. But he’s going to do what he thinks is most effective to getting a deal.”

Asked if he wasn’t very optimistic after Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon’s visit here earlier this month that the deal can be closed by month end, the spokesman said, “I don’t know if I said that it would be closed by month’s end.”

“I very rarely apply timelines to diplomacy because it inevitably proceeds more slowly than we would normally like. Sometimes we’re surprised by that,” McCormack said.