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Why the Left changed stand on nuclear deal
November 19, 2007 18:56 IST
The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Monday said the Left parties had allowed the government to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency on the condition that the draft of an India-specific safeguards agreement is vetted by the United Progressive Alliance-Left Committee before it was signed.
Explaining the reasons behind the change in stand of the Left on the issue, CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury said their earlier opposition to the government going to the IAEA was because signing the draft safeguards treaty would have meant the deal would have been operationalised.
This would have subsequently been followed by negotiations with the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group and then gone to the US Congress for approval, he said.
"Once the draft is initialled, it would have been on auto-pilot. The matter would then have come only to the Union Cabinet for ratification and not to Parliament or any other forum for a debate," he said, adding that this would have practically amounted to the operationalisation of the deal.
The agreement on the issue came during discussions on November 16 at the UPA-Left Committee meeting when the government gave an assurance that it would come back with the draft of the safeguards treaty and would not sign any agreement with the IAEA, he said.
Maintaining that the Left had not budged from its opposition to the 123 agreement and the impact of the Hyde Act on India's foreign and security policies, he said issues like India signing agreements in perpetuity without a guarantee that US would not pull out of the nuclear deal or the guarantee of an assured supply of nuclear material, still remained unanswered.
The prime minister's assurances to Parliament in this regard would be violated if these concerns were not met, Yechury added.