India-US civil nuclear deal to materialise in 2008: Nicholas Burns

The US undersecretary and Menon are due to discuss a wide range of bilateral issues, during a two-day meeting of the high technology coperation group (HTCG) on 22 and 23 Februay. The meeting will be co-chaired by Menon.

Burns said once the negotiations over implementing the bilateral 123 agreement are completed, the accord would come up for Congressional approval in an a "yes or no" vote with no scope for an amendment by the end of this year or early 2008, he said at a dinner.

President George Bush will then sign the final bill into law. "I am determined that we are going to get there as quickly as possible - I know we will," he said and added, "We will continue to rely on this bipartisan support that's being built up as we go along."

Burns, a non-partisan career diplomat said, "We have to give credit to president Clinton, because in my view, president Clinton was the first American president who had the vision to say: 'We can have a strategic global partnership with India'."

Menon is also expected to convey New Delhi's concerns over certain elements of the enabling US legislation signed by Bush last December. India is not willing to accept any legally binding provision on future nuclear testing in the 123 Agreement.