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BJP to review 123 agreement if voted to power
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
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August 04, 2007 19:16 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party has said that it would seek to review the 123 agreement if it is voted to power in 2009 general elections. The former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha announced this at a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday.

Arun Shourie, another former minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said that the government must explore alternative sources of energy to prevent the team of IAEA inspectors from keeping an eye on the Indian nuclear programme.

The party released a seven-page preliminary comment on the text of the agreement that was released simultaneously by India and United States on Friday morning.

"We want a joint parliament committee from both the houses to go into the entire deal and it should be signed once they give their approval and the draft agreement is passed by the two houses of parliament," Sinha said.

"The BJP has been expressing its reservations regarding the Indo-US nuclear deal from the very beginning. When the Joint Statement was issued at the end of the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] to Washington in July 2005, Vajpayee issued a statement in which he expressed his reservations about the deal, especially with regard to its impact on our strategic nuclear programme.

He had expressed his apprehension at the proposed separation plan of our nuclear facilities between civilian and military. Later, when the separation plan was presented to Parliament, we expressed our opposition to it. We warned the government of India when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House International Relations Committee of the US Congress adopted the draft bills for enabling this cooperation between the two countries.

"We protested strongly when the Hyde Act was passed by the US Congress. We have consistently opposed the deal in Parliament whenever discussions on this deal have taken place," the two former ministers claimed.

Shourie claimed that he had asked for the expenditure involved in entire exercise from Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh but so far he has got answer.

"The BJP is of the clear view that this agreement is an assault on our nuclear sovereignty and our foreign policy options. We are, therefore, unable to accept this agreement as finalised.

"We demand that a Joint Parliamentary Committee be set up to examine the text in detail; that, after it has submitted its report, parliamentary approval be secured before this deal is signed; and that all further action on it should be suspended until this sequence is completed.

"The manner in which this agreement has been pushed through, leads us to further demand that appropriate amendments be made in the Constitution and laws to ensure that all agreements which affect the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security shall be ratified by Parliament," Sinha said.

He said that the United States has asked for the right to inspect the Indian nuclear and civil project and send in their inspectors in the garb of experts. It would also intervene into the bilateral talks between India and IAEA. He wondered why the Indian government is not resorting to mining of uranium in India, which is available in abundance.

He claimed that in the separation plan under the surveillance of US, two thirds of our reactors will be put in the civilian category under safe guards. With shutting of Cyrun reactor this will go up to 90 per cent.

The party would raise the matter in the monsoon session of the parliament in a big manner.

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