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N-deal will erode India's independent foreign policy: Karat
November 08, 2007 22:11 IST
The Communist Party of India � Marxist on Thursday said that the political and military dimension of the India-United States nuclear agreement would amount to having a strategic alliance with the US. According to CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat, this would erode India's independent foreign policy and strategic autonomy.
"This is not merely about two countries coming to an agreement in the field of nuclear energy. It is part of a wide architecture including political, economic and military co-operation," Karat said while delivering the first lecture in a series planned by the Institute of Parliamentary Affairs in Thiruvananthapuram.
He said that though the Left was not interested in a political confrontation with the United Progressive Alliance over the deal, the clause in the Common Minimum Programme about India following an independent foreign policy should be adhered to.
He said that for the first time in independent India, an issue of foreign policy, dealt only by diplomats in the past, had been discussed by all strata of society which was satisfying. However, it was a shame that Parliament had not yet discussed it, said Karat.
Karat wanted the Parliament to have a comprehensive debate on the deal in the coming winter session without voting.
"We know that majority of members in Parliament are against implementing the agreement and want the government to take serious note of what the Parliament says," he said.
The UPA-Left committee on nuclear energy could also continue with their discussions on the issue and help the country arrive at a decision that would safeguard our sovereignty, Karat said.
Karat said that the nuclear deal had not `fallen from the heavens.' During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] visit to Washington two years ago, India had signed a joint statement with the US, a part of which dealt with the nuclear agreement.
The remaining parts of the statement comprised a political declaration, a strategic economic pact and a defence framework agreement. From the outset, the Left parties had opposed the wide-ranging agreement which would make India a strategic and subordinate ally of the US, claimed Karat.
The senior CPI-M leader said that the US has been trying to make India its strategic ally for over a decade. "Through the nuclear deal, the US administration sees the long-term benefits of getting India as a strategic ally," Karat said.
He said while promising the supply of uranium, the conditions in the Hyde Act denied India the technology for enrichment and reprocessing of the fuel. The Act had no provision for guaranteed fuel supply and the US could terminate the supply for any reason.
The Act also had a set of conditions which wanted India to follow a `congruent' foreign policy and to co-operate with them to isolate Iran, Karat said and added, "Why should a nuclear deal dictate to India what its foreign policy should be?"
Scientists and professionals were of the view that the agreement would not help India develop technology and might even hamper the country's indigenous nuclear programmes, he claimed.
While the Left was not against nuclear power, they wanted the country to have self-reliant nuclear development, he said.
Karat said the Left had succeeded in getting the nuclear issue to the forefront. In future also, issues of foreign policy, security and defence needed to be discussed by political parties and the general public without merely leaving them to experts.
Pointing out that nuclear power would be costlier, he said no techno-economic survey had convincingly estimated or projected that nuclear power would ensure energy security.
"India was going slow on the ambitious gas pipeline project from Iran via Pakistan as it did not want to upset the US, though the government knew that West Asian countries were the major suppliers of oil," he said.
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan inaugurated the lecture series. The inaugural lecture by Karat was in memory of R Sankaranarayanan Thampi, the first speaker of the Kerala [Images] Legislative Assembly.