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Government announces 15-member committee on N-deal
September 04, 2007 15:50 IST
Last Updated: September 04, 2007 22:30 IST
The government on Tuesday night announced the composition of the key committee, to be headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, to look into the concerns of the Left parties on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.
The committee will have 15 members, six each from the Congress and the Left parties and one each from United Progressive Alliance constituents Rashtriya Janata Dal, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Nationalist Congress Party.
Mukherjee will be the convenor of the committee while his senior Cabinet colleagues A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Saifuddin Soz, Prithviraj Chavan, Lalu Prasad of RJD, T R Baalu of DMK and Sharad Pawar [Images] will be the other members.
Left parties will be represented by Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury (Communist Party of India-Marxist), A B Bardhan and D Raja (CPI), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc) and T J Chandrachoodan of Revolutionary Socialist Party.
Mukherjee said the date for the first meeting was yet to be decided. He evaded a question on when the committee will submit its findings.
The government had announced setting up of the committee last week, preventing action by the Left parties which had rejected the nuclear deal and warned the government of serious consequences if it went ahead with operationalising the agreement.
Announcing the committee last Thursday to address the concerns expressed by the Left, the government had said that the agreement will be operationalised taking into account its findings, a formulation open to varied interpretations.
Left leaders were quick to read it as freezing the operationalisation of the deal while government sources maintained that negotiations on the agreement have not been put on hold and it was free to pursue them.
The committee will go into certain aspects of the 123 bilateral agreement, implications of the Hyde Act on the deal, and self-reliance in the nuclear sector and the implications of the nuclear agreement on foreign policy and security cooperation.
The face-off between the two sides began after the government reached a draft agreement with the US on the 123 accord last month with supporting Left parties asking it not to go ahead with operationalising it.
The deal, they contended, will result in India sacrificing the right to conduct a nuclear test and have an adverse impact on its independent foreign policy.
The relations between Congress and Left parties touched a low when the prime minister dared the Left parties to withdraw support on the issue and they hit back by warning of serious consequences if the deal was operationalised.