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Last Updated: Monday, 17 July 2006, 06:57 GMT 07:57 UK
Bush and Singh in nuclear talks
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (left) and President Bush
Manmohan Singh and George Bush have hailed a new partnership
US President and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have held talks to discuss a proposed landmark nuclear deal between the two countries.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the G8 summit in the Russian city of St Petersburg.

The controversial deal would give India access to US nuclear technology.

It reverses US policy which had restricted nuclear co-operation since India tested a nuclear weapon in 1974.

The agreement was finalised during US President George W Bush's visit to India in March.

There are some concerns which worry us
Manmohan Singh

The accord has been hailed as historic by some, but critics say it will damage non-proliferation efforts.

A US Senate committee and a House of Representatives panel backed the deal last month.

Reports said Mr Singh sought Mr Bush's support for successful completion of the deal during the 40-minute meeting.

"There are some concerns which worry us and worry our parliament," Mr Singh was quoted telling Mr Bush during the meeting by the Press Trust of India.

"We are a democracy and we are accountable to the parliament which zealously keeps a watch on what we do and what we do not," the report quoted him saying.

Mr Bush was quoted telling Mr Singh that he was "optimistic" about the deal being passed.

"It's an important piece of legislation. I'm optimistic we'll get that passed," the Associated Press quoted him telling the Indian prime minister before the meeting.

India nuclear reactor
Energy hungry India needs nuclear power

The final vote on the proposed agreement is not expected till the middle of July.

The proposed agreement reverses US policy to restrict nuclear co-operation with Delhi because it has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and has twice tested nuclear weapons in 1974 and 1998.

Terrorism

Under the deal, energy-hungry India will get access to US civil nuclear technology and fuel, in return for opening its civilian nuclear facilities to inspection.

But its nuclear weapons sites will remain off-limits.

Critics of the deal say it could boost India's nuclear arsenal and sends the wrong message to countries like Iran, whose nuclear ambitions Washington opposes.

Reports said Mr Singh would also raise India's concerns about rising terrorism in South Asia in his meetings with world leaders in light of last week's train blasts in the western city of Mumbai.

Mr Singh has said he would also raise the issue of "zero tolerance" on terrorism.

"The international community must isolate and condemn terrorism wherever they attack, whatever their cause and whichever country or group provides them sustenance and support," the Press Trust Of India quoted him saying.


SEE ALSO
Bush hails partnership with India
03 Mar 06 |  South Asia
Atomic agency hails US-India deal
02 Mar 06 |  South Asia
US and India seal nuclear accord
02 Mar 06 |  South Asia

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