President Bush has told Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he hopes the U.S. Congress will soon approve legislation on a civilian nuclear deal between the two nations.

Despite the support expressed by Mr. Bush during Thursday's phone conversation, it is unclear whether the U.S. Senate will approve the measure.

The deal would let India buy nuclear fuel and technology from the United States and other suppliers if New Delhi opens its civilian nuclear sites to U.N. inspection.

The Senate took up the measure Wednesday and discussion is expected to continue today. The House of Representatives has already approved the deal.

Prominent arms control experts have urged U.S. lawmakers to require that India stop producing nuclear fuel that could be used in weapons - before U.S.-India nuclear cooperation begins.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.