Deal in mutual interest: Kerry

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John Kerry
John Kerry

`A constructive effort to strengthen bilateral ties'

  • Expresses confidence that `killer amendments' will be defeated
  • India's non-proliferation record is unprecedented, different

    Washington: The India-U.S. nuclear agreement is not only in the mutual interests of the two countries but also a part of the ``building block'' process and a constructive effort to strengthen bilateral ties, senior Democratic Senator John Kerry on Wednesday said.

    ``To me this agreement is a part of the building block process, part of the constructive effort to try and do a number of things. I think that this agreement that we will vote on in the Senate strengthens everything we have been talking about, all the components of our relationship...,'' he said in his address to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    ``The agreement that we reached is in the mutual interest of the U.S. and of India. Strong U.S.-India partnership is vital for all the reasons just described,'' Mr. Kerry said.

    Mr. Kerry was a keynote speaker at an event organised by the Chamber, the Coalition for Partnership with India, the U.S. India Business Council and the U.S.-India Friendship Council.

    The organisations were galvanising support for the deal, as the Senate was getting ready to start a formal debate on the legislation. Expressing confidence the ``killer amendments'' will be defeated, the top Democrat, however, stressed that it was important for people to take note of the amendments. Mr. Kerry stressed that India's record in the realm of non-proliferation has been ``unprecedented and different'' from that of other countries.

    The bottomline for the U.S. is that the deal balanced a number of key national interests, including in the area of non-proliferation, Mr. Kerry said while noting that some would have wanted certain aspects of the accord to have come out differently. ``This agreement is a cornerstone of economic development and sensible energy policy and there are opportunities for our countries to work together,'' he said.

    The policy discussion luncheon was also addressed by the former Secretary of Defence, William Cohen, and the Deputy Chief of the Indian Embassy, Ambassador Raminder Singh Jassal, and the President of USIBC, Ron Somers. PTI

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