10 years after civil nuke deal India-US are up to the challenge

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Washington, July 14: The remarkable progress made by India and the US in their bilateral relationship, in a decade after the landmark civil-nuclear deal, has opened up the vistas of realising the true potential of this defining strategic partnership of 21st century, top diplomats, experts and academicians from the two countries have said.

As a result of India-US civil nuclear deal a decade ago, there has been unprecedented level of growth in relationship between the two largest democratic countries of the world, including a record defence and trade, a star-line assembled in Washington DC by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a think-tank and Confederation of Indian Industry, said during a day-long panel discussion here yesterday.

"From the beginning this deal was much more than megawatt and reactors," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said in the opening session of the day-long 'The Future of the U.S.-India Partnership: Ten Years After the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Initiative' organised here jointly by CII and Carnegie.

"We have succeeded well in our expectations," Biswal said in presence of some of the stars of the India-US civil nuclear deal, who played a key role in realising the landmark agreement. Prominent among them were former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nick Burns, former foreign secretaries Shyam Saran and Shivshankar Menon and former Indian Ambassador to the US Ronen Sen.

"Our relationship with the US has transformed in the last 10 years," said Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh, noting a decade later the level of political comforts in doing things together is unprecedented. The "pendulum has swung since the signing of the India US civilian nuclear deal," he said in his address.

In her video address to the conference, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said signing of the nuclear deal is a landmark event in the bilateral relationship. 

Rice, who first as the National Security Advisor and then as the Secretary of State was an architect of the deal, said there were several death moments before it was inked. 

For instance, a day before it was to be announced in the summer of 2005, the White House received a note from the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who was on a State visit to the US, that he would not sign the deal because the opposition were up in arm against it back home. 

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