U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says a landmark civil nuclear
agreement between the United States and India will be concluded soon.
Rice told reporters administrative -- not substantive -- details must
be resolved before the pact ending a 34-year ban on civilian nuclear
trade with India can be signed. She made the remarks on Saturday after traveling to India and meeting with the country's foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee.
U.S. lawmakers approved the agreement this week. And Rice today called
the pact a "done deal," saying U.S. President George Bush would sign
the agreement into law very soon.
The secretary of state also expressed optimism about future friendship
between the U.S. and India, saying the nuclear deal will trigger an
expansion of their ties.
Mukherjee said the agreement will help India's quest for development.
Rice is meeting later on Saturday with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Meanwhile, India's communist parties today protested the deal. They say
their government has surrendered India's sovereignty to U.S.
The deal allows Washington to share civilian nuclear technology and
material with New Delhi if India opens some nuclear facilities to
Following her visit to India, Secretary Rice will travel to Kazakhstan
to meet that country's president and discuss security and energy
cooperation, and political and economic reforms.