Manmohan thanks Bush, discusses next nuclear steps


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday thanked US President George W. Bush for his role in getting India a “clean waiver” from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and discussed with him the next steps to complete the landmark nuclear deal.

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“The prime minister thanked President Bush for his role in taking forward the civil nuclear initiative and the decision by the NSG to adjust its guidelines to enable full civil nuclear cooperation between India and the international community,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said here.

“The two leaders expressed their belief that mutually beneficial relations between India and the US were in the interest of their people, and were on a path of steady consolidation and multifaceted expansion, to which both leaders reiterated their commitment,” it said.

Bush also assured Manmohan Singh about getting the Congressional approval for the 123 bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact, official sources said.

The US Congress is likely to consider the 123 pact for its approval when it meets Sep 8. The approval is expected during the forthcoming session of the Congress that ends Sep 26.

Manmohan Singh and Bush are likely to sign the 123 pact when the two leaders meet in Washington towards the end of this month.

In a statement issued shortly after the NSG agreed to rewrite its rules of global commerce to accommodate India, Manmohan Singh described the NSG waiver as “a forward-looking and momentous decision”.

“It marks the end of India’s decades long isolation from the nuclear mainstream and of the technology denial regime,” the prime minister said.

He also lauded the NSG waiver as “a recognition of India’s impeccable non-proliferation credentials and its status as a state with advanced nuclear technology”.

“The opening of full civil nuclear cooperation between India and the international community will be good for India and for the world,” stressed Manmohan Singh.