David Mulford meets Yashwant Sinha to seek support for nuke deal

New Delhi, Nov 5: US Ambassador to India David Mulford met BJP leader and former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha here today to push for the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, which has been put on a backburner in the wake of the reservations expressed by the Opposition and the Left parties.

"This visit was to exchange views. We have discussed the civilian nuclear issue," Mulford said after the meeting without giving any further detail.

Sinha said the same and he also did not elaborate.

Mulford also met Jaswant Singh¸ senior BJP leader and former External Affairs Minister.

During the meeting, Mulford is understood to have discussed details of the 123 agreement and the Hyde Act pertaining to the bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement, particularly the clauses which BJP says will have an impact on India's foreign and strategic policies.

The meetings came a day after Sinha ruled out BJP's support to the deal unless the Hyde Act and the 123 Agreement were changed, removing elements that are "unacceptable" to his party.
Last month, Mulford met Leader of Opposition L K Advani and BJP President Rajnath Singh as part of exercise to seek support for the deal.

He has also met National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra to discuss the nuclear agreement.

The civilian nuclear cooperation deal aims at lifting a three-decade ban on sales of US nuclear fuel and reactors to India, imposed after the latter conducted a nuclear test in 1974, while staying out of non-proliferation agreements.

The deal has brought the Manmohan Singh led UPA government to the brink of collapse as the Left parties, that provide outside support to the coalition government, threatened to withdraw its support if the pact is pursued.

The communists have rejected the deal, saying it hurts India's sovereignty and imposes US hegemony.

The UPA-Left committee, formed to resolve disagreements between the two sides over the nuclear deal, will meet for the sixth time on November 16. Its last meeting was held on October 22.

The deal faces an informal US deadline related to securing approval of America's Congress well before presidential polls next year.

Three more steps are required to operationalise the deal that include, safeguard agreement with the IAEA, amendment in the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group's charter and the passing of the 123-agreement by the US Congress. (ANI)

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