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NSG nod elicits mixed reactions
Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi | September 06, 2008 19:27 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Saturday hailed the Nuclear Suppliers Group's nod to the India-specific waiver as 'a historic decision' for India.
"This is a forward-looking and momentous decision. It marks the end of India's decades long isolation from the nuclear mainstream and the technology denial regime. It is a recognition of India's impeccable non-proliferation credentials and its status as a state with advanced nuclear technology," he said.
United States President George W Bush [Images] called up Dr Singh on Saturday evening. Dr Singh thanked President Bush for his role in taking forward the civil nuclear initiative and the decision by the NSG to adjust its guidelines to enable full civil nuclear cooperation between India and the international community.
Sonia Gandhi [Images] also congratulated Dr Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for succeeding in getting the waiver at NSG. The waiver for India marks the end of 34 years of sanctions against India engaging in nuclear trade.
"I am happy to inform you that the NSG has adopted a statement on civil nuclear cooperation which will enable India to resume full civil nuclear cooperation with the international community to meet its energy and developmental requirements," Mukherjee said in a statement.
He said that India has been granted the right to have 'full civil nuclear cooperation' with nuclear countries. Like Rahul Gandhi [Images] and Sonia Gandhi, Mukhrejee too stressed that the nuclear deal was "a major landmark in our quest for energy security."
Significantly, Mukhrejee claimed that India has got a clean waiver. "I am happy to inform you that the final outcome fully meets our expectations and is consistent with the government's policy and the national consensus on disarmament and non-proliferation. The NSG waiver is a unique development that has been achieved in accordance with commitments given to Parliament and the people of India, and it is consistent with India's national interest," Mukherjee said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, however, expressed its skepticism over the waiver. "Let us wait for the fine print," senior BJP leader Yahswant Sinha told rediff.com.
Interestingly, the government publicly appreciated the efforts of India-friendly countries, which, for obvious reasons, didn't include China.
Mukherjee said, "I would like to take the opportunity to place on record the government's deep appreciation in particular for the untiring efforts of the United States, France [Images], United Kingdom and Russia [Images] throughout this process, and also the support received from the present and previous Chairs of the NSG -- Germany [Images], South Africa [Images] and Brazil [Images]."
Samajwadi Party General Secretary, the Congress' newest ally, questioned the Left Front's wisdom for siding with China, which tried to create hurdles for the waiver at Vienna [Images].
The chairman of the Minority Commission of New Delhi [Images] and prominent liberal muslim leader Kamal Farooqui stated in his message, "It is a great day for us. We are a proud nation and would continue to pursue the peaceful coexistence dharma around the world. Inshaallah!"
But the celebration of India's victory on the global stage, as a result of the consensus at NSG, spelt bad news for many in New Delhi.
Just an hour before the news came from Vienna, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati [Images] had told the media in New Delhi, "The Congress-lead United Progressive Alliance government has kept the people of India in the dark and has even mislead the Parliament by resorting to lies."
She even demanded the resignation of the Manmohan Singh-led government. She accused the Centre of going ahead with the deal only for its personal interests.
"I want to ask Congress leaders, 'what are the new compulsions because of which you are abandoning the age-old nuclear policy to become subservient to America?'" she said.
"Do you mean to say that there was no energy deficit in the 70s, 80s and 90s or do you want to say that wisdom of Congress leaders was much less in the past then the present leadership," she added
Mayawati claimed that the nuclear agreement would be nullified when India conducts a nuclear test.
Neither was the government ready to convene a Parliament session, nor were they willing to resign, he said. "It is a shameless government. Why are they afraid of the Parliament," he asked.
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