The United States and India remain divided after three days of talks over their controversial nuclear cooperation agreement, State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said Thursday.
"There's good will (between the two sides), we've made progress and we're very hopeful that we can hammer out the remaining differences in the coming days and weeks," Casey said.
U.S. and Indian officials began talking on Tuesday. By the final day of the talks, Casey told reporters: "I wasn't given the impression that you should look for an announcement today or some kind of definitive conclusion."
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley met Indian National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan.
One of the major differences between the United States and India reportedly include a U.S. congressional mandate that Washington halt nuclear cooperation if New Delhi tests a nuclear weapon as it did in 1998.
Other disputed points have been the U.S. refusal to give India prior approval to allow reprocessing of spent fuel with U.S. components and to assure permanent fuel supplies. U.S. law prohibits such assistance to countries such as India which are not formally recognized as nuclear powers.
The United States and India reached a historic agreement on civil nuclear cooperation in March 2006, under which India will get access to U.S. civil nuclear technology, and open its nuclear facilities to inspection.
U.S. President George W. Bush in December 2006 signed into law a bill approved by Congress allowing the deal to go through, a major step towards letting India buy U.S. nuclear reactors and fuel for the first time in 30 years.
But U.S. Congress attached several conditions to the law which have not gone down well with New Delhi, and the two countries have returned to negotiations.
Under the bill, the U.S. president would be required to end the export of nuclear materials if India tests another nuclear device. India had nuclear tests in 1998.
It also does not guarantee uninterrupted fuel supplies for reactors and prevents India from reprocessing spent atomic fuel.
Indian critics say the agreement will put restrictions on the country's nuclear weapons program.