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New US law on N-deal unacceptable: CPI(M)
December 11, 2006 18:49 IST
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said on Monday that the new US law on the nuclear deal cannot be accepted as it negates the most significant assurances made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Parliament. It asked the government not to proceed with further bilateral negotiations on the issue.
Contending that once again goalposts have been shifted, party general secretary Prakash Karat demanded a full-fledged debate in Parliament saying, "Nothing short of the assurances made by the prime minister on August 17 can be acceptable."
Asked whether the deal should be scrapped, he said the government should talk to the Bush Administration and say that the new law 'does not meet the terms of the July agreement between President George Bush and the prime minister. The matter should be renegotiated'.
Referring to inclusion of two new provisions under which US would help facilitate alternate fuel supplies from friendly countries of the Nuclear Suppliers Group in the event of Washington cancelling its obligations, Karat said this was restricted to 'only under conditions of market failure and does not cover deliberate US termination'.
The other provision in the final Act now 'explicitly' barred any reserve, other than normal operating reserves to run Indian reactors, went against the agreement that US would help build a strategic fuel reserve to ensure continuity of
'Under these circumstances, the argument that the country should wait for the final bilateral agreement is specious', he said.
Observing that the US administration was bound by the provisions of the Act while negotiating the bilateral 123 Agreement with India, Karat said, "This cannot be accepted by India as it negates the most significant, if not all, assurances made by Dr Singh to the Indian Parliament. Thus, further negotiations on this score must not proceed."
The CPI(M) leader further stated that the US law failed to meet India's concerns as made out by the prime minister in the nine points he specificed in his Parliament statement in August.
Responding to repeated queries whether the deal should be called off, he quipped, "Red lights have been put on the deal. These lights could turn orange or even green, but that requires the two sides to discuss."
"But on the basis of the present Act, government should not proceed with the negotiations for the (bilateral) 123 Agreement," he said.
Earlier, politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the party had already submitted notices in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for a full-fledged debate on the deal in light of the new US Act.
"We want a full-fledged debate on the issue to lay down a common minimum denominator, beyond which the government should not go," he said.
Maintaining that the final Act ran contrary to most of the assurances made by the prime minister, Karat said these included imposing restrictions and trade regimes barring access to dual-use nuclear technology, 'thus denying India its full nuclear cycle'.
While the provision for annual good conduct certification by the US President remained, Karat said there were nine references to India's role being one of 'support and complicity with the US designs on Iran'.
"Instead of an India-specific additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the US law calls for a modified additional protocol meant for non-nuclear weapon countries", he said.
Such a law, on the basis of which the 123 Agreement was supposed to be negotiated, would seriously undermine India's independent foreign policy and 'bind India to US strategic interests in the name of strategic partnership', he said.
The CPI(M) leader said it was very clear and evident that the US Congress has not taken into account the points made by the prime minister in any substantial or serious manner.
"In fact, most of the points in the American law violates most of the assurances," he said.
Giving an example, Karat said full civil nuclear cooperation would entail India's right for technology for enrichment and reprocessing as well as reprocessing of spent fuel - "The law shows that the US has no intention to sell India such technologies."
There were host of other concerns, the CPI(M) leader said.