Nuclear deal in trouble, Indian PM tells Bush

India has warned the United States that it is having trouble implementing a landmark nuclear accord aimed at bringing New Delhi into the loop of global atomic commerce after a gap of three decades.
Prime minister Manmohan Singh, who had been pushing for the conclusion of the deal as the high point of his foreign policy, conveyed the message to US President George W. Bush during a phone conversation late on Monday, a government statement said.
Singh “explained to President Bush that certain difficulties have arisen with respect to the operationalisation of the India-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement,” the statement said.
The deal, finalised in August after two years of negotiations, has been bitterly opposed by India’s Communists and other left-wing parties — who prop up Singh’s government in parliament — and the opposition Hindu nationalists.
The deal would allow energy-hungry India to buy civilian nuclear technology while possessing atomic weapons and despite not having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
In exchange, India must put selected nuclear facilities under international safeguards, including inspections.
Singh and Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi insist the deal is crucial for future growth and to bring the country into the mainstream of global nuclear commerce.
But opponents are worried that traditionally non-aligned India is getting too close to Washington, and that the government may be compromising the future development of the country’s nuclear weapons programme.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2007