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N-deal: Congress on the defensive; Opposition slams government

September 03, 2008 21:39 IST

The Congress on Wednesday chose to play down 'disclosures' on the India-United States nuclear deal as internal communication between the American administration and the legislature.

"What the US administration and or the US President communicates with the US Congress or a member of the US Congress is entirely their problem," Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said.

Embarrassing revelations on the nuclear deal

He said India is bound only by the terms of the 123 agreement, which does not prohibit the transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology which is integral to the civil nuclear cooperation.

The Congress leader pointed out that in case India conducts a nuclear test, the 123 agreement has provision for launching consultations before taking any action.

"I have read the statement. But I will not comment," said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee when asked by reporters for his comments on the controversial disclosure by the Bush administration.

'The disclosure'

Asked to comment on the outcome of the Nuclear Suppliers' Group meeting beginning in Vienna [Images] on Thursday, Mukherjee said he would keep his fingers crossed.

The United States also downplayed the State Department letter.

"This letter contains no new conditions and there is no data in this letter which has not already been shared in an open and transparent way with members of Congress and with the Government of India," said Ambassador David C Mulford.

 Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India � Marxist accused the United Progressive Alliance government of selling lies to the people about the nuclear deal.

"The government of India is partner of this great deception of the Indian people, which the Bush administration has engineered because it knew what exactly it was doing," said CPI-M politburo member Brinda Karat.

Karat accused the 'spin doctors' of the government of trying to 'sell this lie' to the people of the country.

"And now that lie has been exposed for what it is. It is an extremely sorry state of affairs and it is a tragedy for this country that you accept that government of India can sell India so easily down the line," she said.

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