THE historic civil nuclear deal with India that US President George W Bush saw as one of his signature foreign policy achievements is almost certainly dead, according to senior US officials. Asked whether it was now impossible to push the deal through in the dying days of Bush's term, one administration official told the Financial Times: "That is probably correct." "Even if the Indian government were suddenly to turn around and get the IAEA stage completed, there would be no time for the remaining two stages," said Ashley Tellis, one of the original architects of the deal and now an adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign. The collapse of the deal would jeopardise India's access to sensitive US technology which could have an impact on defence sales and civil nuclear development. "If you look at the regime between 1974 [when India conducted its first nuclear test] and 1998 [its second] that would give you some idea of what India would be heading back towards," Tellis said. "This would be an historic blunder." Tellis' remarks came even as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he still continued to hope that "we will make progress in the months that lie ahead" after admitting that "our domestic politics has prevented us from going ahead." Meanwhile, addressing new recruits of the Indian Foreign Service at a function in New Delhi on Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that India will not sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that prevents it from conducting further nuclear tests and impinges on its sovereignty, reports NDTV. The Indian Prime Minister also stressed that the nuclear deal India had signed with the US protected its "national interests". "Despite the fact that we are not a signatory to the NPT (Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty), and we have also said that if the CTBT came into being we will not sign it, there is no pressure from the US on India to sign the NPT or any other international arrangement of that sort to enter into nuclear cooperation for civil energy," Manmohan Singh said. According to Zee News, Manmohan expressed hope that progress would be made on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, despite domestic political opposition. "Our domestic politics has prevented us from going ahead. I will still continue to hope that we will make progress in the months that lie ahead," the Indian Premier said, stressing that the deal was very important to end the nuclear apartheid that the world has sought to impose on India. "Indo-US civil nuclear agreement protects India's national interest, protects its capacity to use nuclear power, protects its strategic interests and at the same time opens up new opportunities for civilian co-operation," he added. Commenting on the border dispute with China, the Indian Premier said some progress has been made on the issue. He however, added, "There is a long arduous journey ahead of us." AFP adds: Manmohan Singh made a fresh appeal to his government's left-wing allies and the Opposition to drop objections to an endangered nuclear energy pact with Washington. Manmohan Singh, who has been pushing the deal that would allow India to buy technology and power plants without signing global non-proliferation pacts, said he was hopeful it would be finalised soon, the Press Trust of India news agency reported. The pact, which has to be passed by the US Congress before the November presidential polls, would end India's three-decade long exclusion from global nuclear commerce, he said.