India unable to clinch nuclear deal with the United States

The future of a landmark nuclear energy accord between India and the United States looked deeply uncertain Wednesday after India's government put off talks with powerful communist opponents of the pact. The meeting is now scheduled to take place next week. But even if it goes ahead, it's unclear what difference it will make with the communist parties steadfast in their opposition, reinforcing doubts over whether the deal can be clinched before US President George W. Bush leaves office. "We have several times made our position clear - we are opposed to it," Nilotpal Basu, a top official of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), told The Associated Press. The deal would "undermine the independent foreign policy of India," he said, citing US pressure on New Delhi to aid Washington's efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program. "We do not think this deal gives us any advantages."