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Don't get trapped in N-deal quicksand, BJP to govt
December 19, 2006 16:18 IST
Main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday warned the United Progressive Alliance government not to get trapped in the "quicksand" of the new US law saying the India-US civil nuclear deal was designed to "eliminate" New Delhi's nuclear capability.
Spearheading the opposition attack in the Rajya Sabha, senior BJP leader Arun Shourie said provisions in the act, signed by President George W Bush, showed the objective of the US policy was to "halt, rollback and eliminate" India's nuclear capability.
Cautioning the Manmohan Singh government not to get trapped in "quicksand", Shourie said it was a "strategic flaw" that for high growth the country needed to import 35,000 MW nuclear energy as uranium was costly.
"This is a myth that we do not have enough uranium. Rather, India has 78,000 tonnes of known preserves of uranium," he said adding that shortage of uranium was just a "temporary aberration" because of the problem of acquisition of tribal land.
Coming down heavily on the government, Shourie said while four reactors were under safeguards earlier, the new deal would put as many as 14 reactors under safeguards.
"All the five nuclear weapon states together have 237 reactors, but only 11 of them are under safeguards," he said.
The BJP leader felt the US strategy was to ultimately place all reactors under safeguards. "This is the game," he said.
Suggesting that nuclear energy should be avoided for electricity, he favoured intensification of nuclear mining, spurring the Department of Atomic Energy to be more focused, and re-doubling research in breeder programmes rather than "mortage our security".
Sahid Siddiqui of Samajwadi Party, which extends outside support to the Congress-led coalition, demanded that the act should be scrutinised by Parliament.
"Bring this act in the House. Parliament will see if it is accordance with the prime minister's commitment," he said.