Washington: The US-India civil nuclear energy deal is a "real-world agreement" that may not be perfect, but will prove to be a "net gain for non-proliferation", said a top state department official here.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher underlined the breathtaking potential of the deal to transform India-US ties across the board.
"If we can do nuclear power, we can do anything together. The advantages of such a relationship for regional stability and for the future of over a billion people are many," he told the Asia-Pacific committee of the House International Relations Panel here Wednesday.
"It will secure their increasing conviction that there is solid support from the US government for long-term civil nuclear cooperation and thereby open the door to cooperation across the board," he stressed.
Boucher's presentation to the panel, titled "The US and South Asia: An expanding agenda", made an appeal to the Congress to clear the deal that can take the "US-India relationship to heights we have never previously achieved".
"I think we'd all be happy if India and Pakistan gave up their nuclear weapons and joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty. (But) It's not going to happen," Boucher said.
"We went into this negotiation knowing the positions that India had taken all along. This is a real-world agreement. We don't claim it's perfect," he said.
He also sought to correct the impression that the US had given away "too much" in the agreement and claimed that the deal provided "a net gain for non-proliferation" as India has already taken a series of steps to bring itself in "alignment with the international non-proliferation regime".
"They have improved their export control systems, brought their standards into alignment with the practices of the Nuclear Suppliers Group already. They have pledged to support negotiations on a fissile material cut-off treaty.
"They have begun their discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said in response to a question.