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Renegotiate nuclear deal, BJP tells Centre
November 07, 2007 15:59 IST
Last Updated: November 07, 2007 18:00 IST
Seeking to quell reports that the party may cosy up to government on the Indo-US nuclear deal, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday made it clear that the accord should be renegotiated and not hustled through as it 'compromises' with the country's long-term strategic programmes.
After a meeting of its core group, attended by top leaders, including L K Advani and BJP chief Rajnath Singh, the party said it was opposed to the deal and accused the government of making a 'significant strategic blunder' by turning it into a kind of an icon of India's relations with the US.
The statement issued by Advani, Singh and Jaswant Singh assumes significance in the context of media reports that the BJP was diluting its opposition and may not be averse to supporting the deal as the party was not ideologically opposed to the US unlike the Leftists.The statement also noted that over the last few days former American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, US Ambassador to India David Mulford, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan and Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar had met the three leaders and were informed of the BJP's position.
The statement said:
The BJP has been and continues to be of the view that the UPA government has made a significant blunder by turning this deal into a kind of an icon of India's relations with the US.
The BJP has consistently stood for close Indo-US cooperation and strategic partnership as between two equal sovereigns.
We stand opposed to the deal because in our view it compromises long-term strategic programmes of India, vital for country's security, neither will it help meet our energy needs of future.
Therefore, the BJP strongly recommends that this deal must be renegotiated and not hustled through as the UPA government is attempting to.
Emphasising that the nuclear deal could not be the sole benchmark of Indo-US relations, party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said the saffron party was firm that the country's minimum deterrence could not be sacrificed for 'illusory nuclear needs.'
The national strategic interests are of primary importance and energy needs are secondary, he said outlining the party's view which appeared to contradict that of former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra.
Mishra, who served under the BJP-led government, had said the deal was the best one could get and he could allow it to go through if he was given guarantees about protection of the country's strategic interests.
On BJP's approach to the issue during the upcoming Parliament session, Prasad said the strategy will be fine-tuned by the party's Parliamentary Board. "But BJP will expose the stand of Left on the issue," he said.