We have to move with both Hyde Act, 123 pact: Boucher

New Delhi, Mar 4: Richard BoucherVisiting US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia Affairs Richard Boucher today said that the two countries have to move with both the Hyde Act and the 123 pact amid concerns in certain political quarters here over the Hyde Act.

"The Hyde Act is a domestic legislation (and) the 123 agreement is an international agreement. I think we can move forward with both in a consistent manner," Boucher told reporters here after discussing the nuclear deal issue with Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon here.

The comment came when asked by reporters whether the Hyde Act would have any bearing on the July 18, 2005 US-India Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, even as the Left and the BJP have repeatedly expressed concern over the Hyde Act and warned the UPA Government not to go ahead with the negotiations as it could compromise the nation’s sovereignty and security.

Last month, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice had said that changes in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines would have to be "completely consistent with the obligations of the Hyde Act."

On Monday, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in Parliament that India’s rights and obligations on civil nuclear cooperation came only from the 123 agreement.

Meanwhile, prominent US lawmakers have asked India to stick to a July 2008 timeline on the nuclear deal, but the Bush Administration has said it wants to see the agreement "moving forward" as soon as possible to ensure that India gets an opportunity to work out "internal political issues."

"We want to see this agreement concluded. We think it’s in the best interests of India, the United States, as well as in global non-proliferation efforts. But, as you know, we’ve acknowledged that there are internal political issues for the Indian Government to work out, and its important that they have an opportunity to do so," the State Department’s Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey told reporters in Washington on Monday.

Amid concerns here over the Hyde Act, the US on Tuesday suggested that the "domestic" legislation would have to be taken into account in operation of the civil nuclear cooperation with India. (ANI)

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