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Home > News > PTI

Scientists appreciate government's stand on N-deal

October 14, 2007 15:12 IST

After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] assertion that he will not put the government at stake over the Indo-US nuclear deal, scientists on Sunday hailed the stand saying the Centre has taken a sensible decision.

"It is the most sensible thing the government has done," former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman H N Sethna said, welcoming the remarks of Dr Singh.

"Ours is not a one-issue government and it will do all it can to avoid early polls," he said.

The UPA-Left stand-off over the Indo-US nuclear deal had given rise to the possibility of a mid-term poll. Dr Singh's statements on Friday along with Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images] had put this speculation to rest.

Sethna said, "India is a huge democratic country and it is okay even if the process goes slow. We are not going to die. It all depends on 'how we define our objectives and the time table we chalk out for ourselves."

Dr P K Iyengar, also former Chairman AEC said: "The government made a mistake by not allowing the debate on the deal in Parliament. They should have shown the maturity of parliamentary democracy by having a debate."

He added that the 123 agreement was not a perfect document and was not done in a scientific way. There was always a danger of interpretation of it in favour of the US.

On the reprocessing issue, Iyengar said it was a blunder on part of India to have announced about the dedicated reprocessing facility and 'in fact this got into problems as such a facility can never be built.'

India should not allow the US to take rest of the world for granted, Iyengar said.

Iyengar said, even Jawaharlal Nehru did not allow advanced countries, in early 1950s for uranium mining here, as he said India was a sovereign country, Iyengar added.

Reacting to the recent statement by the Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed ElBaradei on safeguards that 'the Indian government will have to take a decision and I will wait for them to come to Vienna to make a formal request (in this regard),' he said: "Does it mean, whatever informal consultations that were done by the Indian officials during the last one year has gone waste and was he (ElBaradei) calling for fresh negotiations?."

M R Srinivasan, member AEC, also echoed the similar sentiments and said, "The delayed deal is better than a bad deal. If we could bring the political consensus in a most democratic way, the current situation would not have arisen."

It is a fact that Hyde Act language is not India-friendly and the 123 agreement reflected that to some extent, he said.      

"The only thing, if the deal had gone through, would have been that it would have paved way for India's integration into international arena," he added.

"Of course, we have to go by the decision of the country that is good for the country and as scientists we can only explain the situation and its pros and cons," Srinivasan said.

"We will continue with our indigenous programmes and look for more uranium reserves. Meanwhile, the two Russian reactors are under construction and some spade work is also being done with enthusiastic French nuclear industries," he concluded.

Dr A N Prasad, former BARC director and special envoy of IAEA on Iraq WMD, said unlike other bilateral agreement where they constitutionally bypass the Parliament, the bilateral deal on nuclear energy should have been considered little more seriously as involved commitment in perpetuity.

He said when most of the Parliament was opposing the deal the government should have gracefully or proactively allowed some discussion and taken a consensus.

Even when the 123 agreement was placed in the Parliament, it was a frozen document. There was no scope for fine tuning at all, Prasad said.

Prasad was also upset about the statements made by very senior politicians and diplomats on those who were just expressing their concerns on the deal.

"Are we not supposed to express our views? It was unbecoming of democracy," Prasad added.

He also pointed out that even if the deal comes through, the embargo would have got lifted only for the reactors and not for the equipment and technologies of entire fuel cycle.

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