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Indo-US N-deal not in India's interest: Karat

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Aug 18, 2007 at 08:41pm IST

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New Delhi: The Left is in no mood to backtrack from its opposition of the Indo-US nuclear deal popularly known as the 123 Agreement.

On Saturday, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India -Marxist (CPI-M) Prakash Karat fired a fresh salvo following the Politburo meeting in New Delhi saying that they have not endorsed the stand of the UPA government on the nuclear deal.

"The Politburo of the CPI-M has not endorsed the stand on nuclear cooperation," Prakash Karat said adding that the agreement with the US is not acceptable.

Karat said that going ahead with the nuclear deal would not serve India's interest.

Karat also hinted that the government was in a minority on the issue of the nuclear deal saying that the majority in Parliament doesn't support the deal.

"It is for the Congress to look into the serious effect that this deal will have on the country. If the deal goes forward we will go for mass protests," Karat said.

"We are of the opinion that this agreement should not go forward. The government should not go ahead with this deal. We have to get into a deal separately with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," the CPI-M General Secretary said.

Karat also said that he along with senior CPI-M leader and Politburo member Sitaram Yechury met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss the issue. The meeting lasted for nearly an hour.

"We have gone and met the Congress leadership today to convey the context of the CPI-M resolution. We have explained to them how we view this agreement and how it is necessary for the government to look into this deal more seriously," Karat added.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is working on reconciliation efforts with the Left, was also present during the meeting.

Karat said that the deal was signed in a hurry and "unfortunately on the implications of the nuclear deal there is no consensus".

The CPI-M leaders also conveyed to the Congress leadership to look into the deal and get back to them with appropriate decision.

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Karat dismissed suggestions that the Left parties were looking at the nuclear deal through a narrow mind.

"Nuclear agreement is not to be seen as a narrow party issue. It has to be seen in a wider aspect," Karat said.

He also said that they have told the Prime Minister not to take any step to implement the deal.

"I have suggested to the PM and Congress leadership not to take the next step in nuclear deal."

Left's reservations to the Indo-US nuclear deal are on the following points:

  • One of the Left's biggest problems with the deal is that it could restrict India's sovereign right to test. They say that if India decides to test a nuclear device, the US would kill the deal.
  • The Left wants India to obtain guarantees from members of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) when it meets to ratify the deal. This means the NSG members should commit fuel supplies even if the US terminates the deal.
  • The Indo-US civilian nuclear deal now needs clearance from the NSG and India signing additional safeguards protocols with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • The entire process of operationalising the deal could take almost a year.

When the Left says do not operationalise the 123 Agreement it wants the following to happen:

  • At the International Atomic Energy Agency negotiations which begin soon, the Left wants India to negotiate the safeguards without signing any agreement.
  • Agreement at the IAEA on safeguards should be signed only after the 123 Agreement is concluded, which is expected to be completed some time in December.
  • The Left also wants India to negotiate and address its concerns at the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The NSG consists of 45 countries.
  • The Left says the NSG must make it clear that in the event of Washington terminating the Indo-US nuclear deal, India will be allowed to buy fuel from other nuclear nations, and will not have to return its nuclear fuel reserves.
  • The Left wants a clarification from Washington that the US law is not binding on New Delhi in the event of the termination of the agreement.

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