India has welcomed with caution the approval of the Indo-US nuclear deal by the US Senate, saying it will wait until the US Congress passes its final version next month.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said there is ''a long way to go before it becomes a living reality.'' But he said President Bush has assured him the US administration will work with him so that the final outcome is in line with the original commitments.
The prime minister said the versions passed by the Senate and the House are slightly different and he hopes India's concerns will be kept in mind while reconciling the differences.
The Republican-controlled Senate approved the deal Thursday night by defeating several amendments that could impose additional restrictions on New Delhi.
President Bush said the Senate action will further strengthen the U.S. - India strategic partnership.
The US House of Representatives has already approved the deal.
The accord was reached by President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July 2005. It will give New Delhi access to U.S. nuclear fuel and technology in return for a pledge to open its civilian nuclear facilities to international inspections.
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana praised the deal and said U.S. national security is advanced by increasing the IAEA oversight of the India nuclear program. But some Democratic opponents argued the deal would encourage an arms race in the region.