UPA Government may seek to counter Hyde Act with new law

July 19th, 2008 - 11:24 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi , July 19 (ANI): The UPA Government is reportedly considering the possibility of amending domestic law or introducing a new one to counter the Hyde Act of the United States .

With the opposition repeatedly and openly expressing concern over the impact of this act along with controversial aspects of the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear cooperation deal, official sources said such a law or amendment to a law is under contemplation before next Tuesdays crucial trust vote in the Lok Sabha.

The government is “open to the idea” of amending the Atomic Energy Act to counter the Hyde Act.

Sources within the government and in ruling coalition circles continue to defend the deal, saying that it is in the countrys interest. They maintained that India ‘’s obligations were spelt out in the bilateral 123 agreement with the United States and reiterated that the Hyde Act is a U.S. domestic law which cannot override the bilateral agreement.

The BJP, which leads the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) also favours a legislation to counter the Hyde Act should the need arise.

“We are willing to look at all options provided they are feasible,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, New Delhi says it is satisfied with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors and members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) response to the briefing provided to the IAEA and the NSG by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon in Vienna .

The government continues to tread the path of caution vis-a-vis the next steps on the deal if and when the draft India-specific safeguards agreement is approved by the IAEA.

“We cannot take NSG for granted. It works on the basis of consensus,” agency reports quoted the sources, as saying.

After the entire process of approval, India would have to file a declaration about the deal before the IAEA. Only after that would the deal be operationalised, they pointed out.

Asked if the government would go ahead with the deal even if it lost the trust vote, the sources said, “We are not going to lose the vote. The rest is hypothetical.” (ANI)

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