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'Kalam changed his stance on N-deal'

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 14, 2008 19:41 IST

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Former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Shourie said that former President A P J Abdul Kalam changed his stand on the Indo-US nuclear deal after discussing finer points of it with him. He was addressing a joint press conference with Yashwant Sinha on Monday afternoon.

"I did not want to bring his name into the controversy but since you asked a question let me tell you that his office called me and asked that Dr Kalam wanted to discuss the nuclear deal with me. I told him about our objections to the Hyde Act and other things and later I learnt that he had changed his stand," Shourie claimed.

When asked if he knew more about the nuclear deal than Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [Images], he said: "Who knows more would be judged by history long after we have all gone," he said.

"Leader of the Opposition L K Advani and other National Democratic Alliance leaders have already spoken of the government making India a laughing stock in the eyes of the world for the deceitful manner in which it approached the International Atomic Energy Agency," Yashwant Sinha said in his opening remarks.

He accused of Dr Manmohan Singh of going back on assurances given to Parliament.

On the draft of the Safeguards Agreement between India and the IAEA, he said, "Before we present our substantive comments on the draft, the BJP takes strong exception to the fact that a document that has serious long-term implications for India, and which has been made available to the governments and peoples of other countries -- indeed, to the entire world through the Internet -- was kept hidden from the political parties and people in India."

Sinha said the draft agreement does not recognise India as a Nuclear Weapons State on par with the United States, Russia [Images], Britain, France [Images] and China.

Quoting Dr Singh extensively, Shourie pointed out a number of incidents which prove that Dr Singh did not adhere to his promises and was bringing India into Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty regime which India had been studiously avoided so far.

Referring to a press conference in Washington DC on July 10, 2005, where the prime minister had said: '�It goes without saying that we can move forward only on the basis of a broad national consensus', Shouri claimed nearly three years later, there is no broad national consensus on the Indo-US nuclear deal. He said the PM has broken the consensus, which had existed since the time of Indira Gandhi [Images] and continued till Atal Bihari Vajpayee's time.

"Dr Singh has indulged in duplicity and deceitfulness. While the government has all along said that the deal is exclusively about nuclear energy, the US Administration and America's bipartisan political class has left no one in doubt that the deal is all about bringing India into the non-proliferation regime. The BJP charges the leadership of the Congress party and the government with assisting the US in realising its most important foreign policy objective vis-�-vis India in a manner that has undermined India's strategic autonomy while promising illusory energy security," Shourie alleged.

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