In an apparent setback to the Manmohan Singh Government, its Left allies on Tuesday expressed their “inability” to accept the 123 agreement with the US and asked the government not to proceed further with the implementation of the agreement.
The four Left parties’ opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal came in the backdrop of reservations already expressed by the opposition BJP and the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA).
The setback to the government on the crucial deal came just three days ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament in which the issue will come up for debate though no parliamentary approval for the deal is required.
Briefing reporters here after a meeting of four Left parties on the Indo-US nuclear deal, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said: “We are unable to accept the agreement.
“We will raise this issue in Parliament, but we have not yet decided what our strategy would be,” he said.
The Left parties also demanded a review of the strategic aspects of Indo-US relations in Parliament and said they would press for a constitutional amendment for bringing international treaties and certain bilateral agreement for approval in Parliament.
However, they parried questions on what their strategy would be in case the government decides to go ahead with the agreement.
When specifically asked whether they would reject the deal, CPI leader A B Bardhan, who was also present in the briefing, said: “We are unable to accept it.”
Expressing reservations about the nuclear agreement, Mr Karat said it must be seen as a crucial step to “lock” India into the US global strategic designs.
The main Left opposition to the deal stems from the fact that it is an integral part of the overall strategic tie- up with the US.
“The nuclear cooperation deal is an integral part of the July 2005 joint statement, which has political, economic and strategic aspects.
It is also closely linked to the June 2005 military framework agreement signed with the US,” Mr Karat said.
“Even now, the briefing by the US spokesman on the bilateral nuclear agreement emphasises the cooperation India extended in efforts to isolate Iran by voting twice against it in the IAEA and the clear expectation that it will continue to extend this cooperation,” he said.
Maintaining that the 123 agreement should be seen in the context of the Hyde Act, which is a national law in the US, the Left parties pointed out that a number of conditions pertaining to areas outside nuclear cooperation had been inserted into the Act and these should be considered as attempts to “coerce” India to accept the strategic goals of the US.
The Left parties also observed that along with negotiations for the nuclear accord, steps have been taken for closer military collaboration between India and the US.
New Delhi, DHNS: The government on Tuesday said it was prepared for a debate on the Indo-US civil nuclear energy co-operation but refused to commit whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would make a suo motu statement on the accord during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, starting here on August 10.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters that if given notice, the government would be ready to consider it but added that whether to hold any discussion or not would depend on the decision taken by the presiding officers of the two Houses of Parliament.