US congratulates PM over nuclear trust vote

The White House warmly praised Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Tuesday for "soldiering on" with the US-India nuclear pact despite stiff opposition at home.

Singh was "very confident" about the agreement's prospects when he met with US President George W Bush on 8 July on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Japan, spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

"Obviously, the politics in India have been tough to deal with, but he's been soldiering on and trying to build a consensus," Perino said.

"It will be up to their congress to make a decision as to if they're going to move forward or not with what we think is a really good opportunity for India" in the face of energy-hungry economic growth, said Perino, ahead of the trust vote in the Indian Parliament.

"There's more support here than there at this time, but I know prime minister Singh has been working on it and he felt very confident" about the deal when he and Bush met in Toyako, Japan, said the spokeswoman.

The deal allows India, which refuses to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to be treated as a special case on condition it separates its civil and military programmes and allows some UN inspections.