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Home > India > News > PTI

Left argument on nuclear deal absurd: Congress

June 28, 2008 23:33 IST

Hitting back at the Communist Party of India - Marxist a day after its attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images], the Congress on Saturday said that the Communist parties are indulging in irrational and absurd arguments on the India-United States nuclear agreement.

Citing rising oil prices, the party justified the nuclear deal as being essential for the country's energy needs and warned that the country's economic growth was being endangered by 'blind ideological obduracy'.

A day after Prakash Karat's article attacking the Prime Minister appeared, Congress spokesman Veerappa Moily issued a seven-page statement countering the arguments forwarded by the CPI-M general secretary.

"The Left's objections are ideological rather than rational and it has fallen back on absurd arguments," said the statement, which quotes former President A P J Abdul Kalam as well as some prominent scientists, to defend the nuclear deal.

"If Russia [Images] and America, China and Pakistan and China and Russia are all busy signing civil nuclear deals, should India forego pursuing its interests? Obstructing the deal means that the nation's energy security and its ability to withstand future oil price shocks would be further reduced," Moily said.

Insisting that nuclear deal is crucial for India to meet the energy requirement, Moily said larger questions should be posed to "those who imperil our energy security, which is interlinked with our economic security as well as our national security, for short-term political considerations".

Alleging that prejudices have overtaken reason regarding the deal's pros and cons, the Congress spokesman said 'reviewing or analysing them is useless'.

Arguing that the deal will not only help in making India self-reliant with respect to energy requirements but also help in ending the country's nuclear apartheid, Moily said, "We are endangering our economic growth prospects for short-term electoral prospects or due to blind ideological obduracy".

To the Left's question about the 'hurry' in going ahead with the nuclear deal, Moily retorted by pointing out that eight months had lapsed since the Communist parties' special dialogue with the government over the issue.

On the Left's claim that the government had not given it the text of the International Atomic Energy Agency draft, the Congress spokesman said the Communist parties have "an official summary pertaining to all core issues".

In his virtual point-by-point reply to the Left's objections, he also rejected the argument that the government should fast-forward the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline deal to mitigate energy crisis.

"The pipeline is not an alternative to the nuclear deal," he said.

Seeking to delink inflation from the nuclear deal, Moily said there is no connection between the two.

"The nuclear deal should not be seen in isolation from the country's overall energy security, which is in a precarious state as the recent oil price shocks illustrate," Moily said.

"The soaring price of crude oil and growing concern over climate change mean that the government can no longer afford to ignore nuclear energy, the nearest thing to a non-polluting energy source, capable of generating power on a large scale," he said.

Contending that nuclear fuel is cleaner than coal and more reliable than wind, the statement said developed countries are increasingly going back to nuclear energy as a relatively cleaner fuel option.

In this regard, it said the developed nations are looking to follow the example of France [Images] where 80 per cent of energy needs are met from nuclear power plants.

Maintaining that the deal is in national interest, nuclear plants are running at less than 50 per cent capacity for want of the fuel which the country cannot access without the IAEA agreement and the NSG waiver for nuclear trade.

"The agreement is a clear win-win situation for India," he said, adding it will not only help access nuclear fuel supplies to step up generation from its existing power reactors but also free the country from sanctions that have "debilitated its nuclear and more general technological progress."

Moily also attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying the saffron party's position has "changed from outright opposition to ambiguity, caught as it is in a web of its own contradictions."

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