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Leader calls India, US 'natural partners'

WASHINGTON -- India is a resolute US partner in the war on terrorism and a responsible nuclear power, India's prime minister told Congress yesterday as he promoted new nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

Manmohan Singh, in an address to a joint meeting of Congress, spoke broadly of how the world's oldest and largest democracies, once estranged by Cold War politics, were ''natural partners."

There is ''a convergence in our perceptions of a rapidly transforming global environment, bringing us much closer together now than at any time in the past," Singh said, mentioning collaboration ranging from developing high-tech industries to helping tsunami victims.

But his remarks on nuclear energy cooperation drew the most attention, occurring a day after President Bush, at a White House meeting with Singh, offered US help in India's civilian nuclear program. ''India's track record in nuclear nonproliferation is impeccable," Singh said.

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