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Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 06:21 GMT
India and US hold nuclear talks
Bhabha atomic plant outside Mumbai, India
India says it wants nuclear power to meet its energy needs
India's Foreign Secretary, Shyam Saran, has met US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on a visit to Washington dominated by nuclear talks.

Mr Saran said he was "very encouraged" by discussions on implementing an agreement to give India access to US civilian nuclear technology.

The agreement still has to be approved by the US Congress.

Critics of the deal say that it could harm efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons.

Under the agreement, India would place nuclear facilities associated with its civilian energy programme under international inspection.

Mr Saran did not give details about how the nuclear deal would be implement, but he did say that a second round of talks would be held in India next month.

"We came to the conclusion that we should be in the position to make a significant advance on this initiative before the visit of President [George W] Bush," he said.

He also said both sides prepared the ground for Mr Bush's visit to India which is expected to take place in early 2006.

Landmark deal

The nuclear agreement between India and the United States was signed in July during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Washington.

It came as a boost for India which has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and therefore needs a change in US law.

But some members of Congress have opposed the deal.

Under the agreement, US companies will be allowed to build nuclear power plants in India, and also supply fuel for nuclear reactors.

The US imposed curbs on nuclear technology transfers to India in the wake of India's nuclear tests in 1998.

Delhi is keen on a deal on ways to share nuclear technology to help meet its growing energy needs.


SEE ALSO:
Congress mulls India nuclear deal
27 Oct 05 |  South Asia
India and US work on nuclear deal
21 Oct 05 |  South Asia
US and India boost nuclear ties
18 Jul 05 |  South Asia
US keen to uphold India ties
18 May 04 |  South Asia



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