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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
India urges end to nuclear curbs
Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee
Mr Mukherjee says India and US share common values
Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has urged the United States to lift curbs on nuclear technology transfers to India.

The US imposed the restrictions in the wake of India's nuclear tests in 1998.

Mr Mukherjee was speaking in Washington on his first visit since assuming his post last year, following the Congress party victory in India's elections.

There has been a significant transformation in relations between the two countries in recent years.

Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Monday, Mr Mukherjee said Washington and Delhi shared "common values and security concerns".

"Our nuclear energy and security programmes are separate," he said.

"We can assure you that it [sensitive technology] will never fall in the wrong hands," the Associated Press quotes him as saying.

India is keen for access to US civilian nuclear technology.

Growing ties

The Indian defence minister met US Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

On Tuesday, he is due to meet his counterpart, Donald Rumsfeld.

Next month, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is to hold talks with President George W Bush during a visit to the United States.

Economic ties have grown between the two countries, once on opposite sides of the Cold War fence, and the US is now India's biggest trading partner.

India and the US have also overseen increased military ties, holding joint exercises and expanded civilian, space and hi-tech contacts.


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