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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 06:25 GMT
S Asia media cautious on US poll
Indian newspaper headlines
Indian papers carried the poll results on their front pages
Newspapers in India and Pakistan have reacted cautiously to the results of the US mid-term elections.

The Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the polls, and US media reports say they will also take the Senate.

There is some anxiety in the Indian media about the fate of a key nuclear deal- still to be ratified by Congress.

The Pakistani media say there will be no immediate impact of the polls on the "war on terror" in the region.

Newspapers were mixed in their reaction to the impact of the elections on Pakistan - most said it was "too early to predict" while others hoped for a "softening of the war against terror."

Democrats will be slightly colder in their attitude towards Pakistan
The Nation

"As for President Pervez Musharraf, he should probably still feel secure enough in his government's alliance with the Americans since George Bush is not going anywhere anytime soon," said The News newspaper in an editorial.

"However a Democratic-dominated Congress may bring considerable pressure to bear on Washington - something that the Indian lobbies in the US capital will be sure to exploit - in its relationship with various countries and it is quite possible that matters such as the peace agreement in parts of the tribal areas reached between the local tribes and the Pakistan government may come under closer scrutiny."

The Nation said that, since the American voters did not factor in the situation in Afghanistan while casting their ballots, "the impact on Pakistan won't be immediate".

Pakistan missile
The US wants Pakistan on its side in the 'war on terror'

However, without elaborating the newspaper warned that that the "Democrats will be slightly colder in their attitude towards Pakistan".

The Dawn said it would be in "America's own interest if [Mr Bush's] militancy is tempered with moderation".

"What this holds for Pakistan only time will tell."

'Massive support'

Indian newspapers hoped that the country's traditionally warm ties with the Democrats will help push through the landmark civilian nuclear deal between the two countries.

The deal, which is still to be ratified by the US Congress, gives India access to US nuclear technology.

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

"The massive vote in support of the deal in the House of Representatives earlier this year indicates that there is a non partisan support for the measure," said Hindustan Times in an editorial.

The Indian Express said India had already learnt that "very little can be achieved in the US Congress without bipartisan support".

The poll results, of course, have brought in an element of uncertainty as the Democrats may demand more concessions from India, which may not be acceptable to New Delhi
The Tribune

"The return of Washington to the norm of a divided government, then, is unlikely to make a fundamental difference to the future of the nuclear deal, which will pass the US Congress only when all the forces are aboard."

The Tribune echoed a similar sentiment, saying that the "weakened position" of Mr Bush "may have its impact on the deal, but the situation will become clear only after the coming lame-duck Congress session".

"The poll results, of course, have brought in an element of uncertainty as the Democrats may demand more concessions from India, which may not be acceptable to New Delhi," the paper said.

The Times of India said it was "unlikely that when the US Congress convenes for a lame duck session after the polls it will take up the nuclear issue".

"This will, of course, delay the nuclear accord..But there is no reason to believe that the deal is dead..There is bipartisan support for the agreement..New Delhi will just have to be patient and keep lobbying in Capital Hill for an early passage of the bill on nuclear deal".

The newspaper said the upswing in the ties between the two countries will not be affected as both the Republicans and Democrats are "committed to better ties with Delhi".

The Pioneer was more circumspect, saying that "this is hardly the moment [for India] to speculate on the future of the civil nuclear cooperation bill simply because it is nowhere on the Democrat's radar screen".

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