Congress defends nuke deal with full gusto

November 17th, 2007 - 8:10 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Nov 17 (ANI): The Congress party today came out in full defence of the contentious Indo-US civilian nuclear deal with the top brass of the party making it clear that that the deal would end India’s isolation in the international nuclear community.
As the All India Congress Committee (AICC) meeting began here on Saturday, one-by-one the top leaders gave their support to the deal that had plunged the government in a deep crisis just a few weeks ago.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi made it clear that she fully supported the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement, and said that it would in no way affect the country’s independent atomic programme.
“The nuke-deal will not have an impact on India’s atomic programme, but enable the country to acquire fuel and technology and help it to get much-needed electricity for faster growth,” Sonia said.
A day after the Left parties gave clearance to the government to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for working out an India-specific safeguards agreement related to the 2005 US-India civil nuclear pact, Gandhi said that while there were differences with allies, but efforts were on by the government to evolve a consensus through discussions.
Endorsing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurance to the country that the agreement would not in any way affect the strategic nuclear programme, she said, “From the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, the policy has been one of self-reliance. International cooperation on our own terms is an inalienable part of this policy of self-reliance”.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the deal was important to maintain economic growth, and added that the ‘propaganda’ being made about it hurting country’s strategic programme was ‘totally false’.
“I have stated repeatedly on several occasions that this agreement concerns only the civilian side of nuclear energy, and that it will have no bearing on the strategic and security programme, which will remain intact without any international interference,” Singh said.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is the convenor of the special UPA-Left committee that was formed to address Left’s concern on the deal, refuted the suggestions of a US ’tilt’ in the UPA government’s foreign policy.
Stating that the government has neither compromised country’s national interests nor has surrendered its strategic programme by signing the 123-agreement with the US for initiating operationalisation of the nuclear deal, Mukherjee said that the deal would enhance the power generation potential in the country.
The AICC resolution on the nuclear deal states that the civil nuclear cooperation deal would enable the country to “access technology more easily, so as to significantly increase the contribution of nuclear energy to our electric supply over the next two decades.” (ANI)

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