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N-deal: Left may give nod to approaching IAEA
November 13, 2007 16:48 IST
Last Updated: November 13, 2007 17:28 IST
In a softening of their stance, the Left parties may give the nod to the government to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency for an India-specific safeguards agreement, which is needed to operationalise the India-United States nuclear agreement.
The Left-UPA committee, that has been constituted to look into the apprehensions voiced by the Left Front, is likely to meet on November 18. In the meeting, the Left Front may clear the government's move to approach the international atomic watchdog but without committing anything in writing, Left sources said.
The thaw in the stance of the Left parties has come in the context of relentless government efforts to persuade the Left allies to take the next step in implementing the deal.
The sources said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], during a luncheon meeting with Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan last week, had sought their nod for the government to approach the IAEA for a safeguards agreement that would enable India to take some steps as part of the implementation of the civilian nuclear deal with the US.
But they were clearly told that the government would not initiate any agreement with the IAEA and would come back to the Left on any progress in such negotiations.
The government has assured the Left parties that it would not go ahead without the committee's clearance on the issue.
The government has already taken a position that operationalisation of the deal with the US would be subject to the findings of the Left-UPA committee.
The Left's climb down has come in the backdrop of a growing feeling among the allies that the government was anyhow planning to approach the IAEA as it was racing against time.
The Left parties were earlier staunchly opposed to the government going to the IAEA on the plea that any talks there would amount to operationalisation of the deal.
An indication of the Left softening its stand came on Monday when CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan indicated that the Left may consider allowing the government to approach the IAEA subject to the condition that the government did not initiate an agreement with the IAEA.
CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat also said at a press conference that he was hopeful that something could come out of the next UPA-Left meeting. He said the two sides were working to find a solution. "If there is no possibility, I would not say we will meet again," he said.
Following up on the Prime Minister's meeting with Karat and Bardhan, CPI-M Politburo member Sitaram Yechury held detailed discussions with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday.
The UPA-Left panel is in the process of finalising its findings on various aspects of the issue including the implications of the Hyde Act on the 123 agreement,
Maintaining that the next UPA-Left meeting would be held by this week, Yechury said, "Whatever decision has to be taken will be taken at the meeting. Let us see what is their proposal. Whatever proposal comes up at the meeting, we will consider."
Observing that the government has committed in writing that it would consider findings of the UPA-Left committee before taking any step forward, the CPI-M leader said, "Let
there be a proposal. Why are you presuming there is a change in our stance? We have not taken any stance."
The development has come ahead of the winter session of the Parliament when the issue is scheduled to come up for discussion. It will help raise the comfort level of the Congress-led coalition in view of the fact that the issue had rocked the monsoon session.