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Indian team extends U.S. stay

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The last lap: U.S. Ambassador to India David Mulford, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon coming out of the White House in Washington on Thursday after meeting Vice-President Dick Cheney. Behind them are Joint Secretary (Americas) in the External Affairs Ministry Gayatri Kumar and Indian Ambassador R.S. Jassal.
The last lap: U.S. Ambassador to India David Mulford, National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon coming out of the White House in Washington on Thursday after meeting Vice-President Dick Cheney. Behind them are Joint Secretary (Americas) in the External Affairs Ministry Gayatri Kumar and Indian Ambassador R.S. Jassal.

We haven’t given up, I am hopeful: Burns

Washington: Differences over “many” issues in the civil nuclear deal with India have been “overcome” and the two sides just need to go the “extra couple of feet,” the U.S. said as top officials continued talks to finalise the agreement.

In an indication that the talks could have entered the decisive phase, the high-level Indian team has extended its stay here.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon met U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns on Friday morning to carry on discussions on the proposed 123 agreement, which will operationalise the deal.

Mr. Menon and Mr. Burns held delegation-level negotiations over last two days to sort out the differences over reprocessing and the fate of the deal if India were to conduct a nuclear test in future.

Extra innings

“We are in an extra innings,” Mr. Burns said using a baseball term. “We haven’t given up and I’m very hopeful we might have an agreement.”

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan, who is leading the Indian negotiating team, held a number of rounds of talks with his counterpart Stephen Hadley over the last three days.

Informed sources told PTI that a meeting between Mr. Narayanan and Vice-President Dick Cheney focussed on the larger and broader aspects of bilateral relations with the civilian nuclear deal coming in for a fleeting mention. The two sides exchanged views on cooperation in counter-terrorism and agriculture.

At this 30-minute meeting, Mr. Narayanan was accompanied by Mr. Menon, Indian Ambassador Ronen Sen, Deputy Chief of the Indian Mission here Raminder Singh Jassal and Joint Secretary of the Americas in the Ministry of External Affairs Gaitri Kumar. — PTI

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