Indian-US body launches major lobbying drive for nuclear-deal


New York : With the legislative clock ticking away for approval of the Indo-US nuclear deal, an organisation of Indian Americans has launched a major lobbying effort to convince lawmakers that it is in the interest of both countries that the agreement goes through before the Congress adjourns next week.

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After meeting several influential lawmakers, Chairman of the Indian-Americans for Democrats, Sant Singh Chatwal, told reporters it is important that the community bodies maintain pressure at a time when dealing with economic crisis in the aftermath of market meltdown has become the highest priority for the Congressmen.

Though his organisation has traditionally supported the Democrats, Chatwal said it is also reaching out to ranking Republicans to ensure that the deal has smooth passage next week before the Congress adjourns on Sept 26.

The Indian Americans for Democrats, which contributed millions of dollars to the Presidential campaign of the party, along with other community bodies has been active in lobbying for the deal since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President George W Bush signed it in July 2005.

During the last two weeks, delegations led by Chatwal met House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Joseph Biden and influential Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton and lawmakers Gary Ackerman, Joseph Crowley and Charles Schumer among others, both in groups and singly.