Govt can go to IAEA provided no pact on nuke deal is finalised: Bardhan

November 14th, 2007 - 10:39 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Nov 13 (ANI): The Communist Party of India (CPI) General Secretary A B Bardhan today said that the government can approach the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as long as they don’t finalise any agreement on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

During the meeting with CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat and Bardhan last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had reportedly sought their nod for the government to approach the IAEA for an India-specific safeguards agreement, which is one of the steps needed to operationalise the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Quoting sources, private news channel NDTV said that the Left and the UPA have reached an understanding on the government going to the IAEA and this could be formalised and announced on November 16.

The Left, which offers crucial outside support to the UPA Government, has been showing signs of mellowing down since recent weeks, and given signs of not completely opposing to the US-India pact inked on July 18, 2005.

Last week, Karat met both the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi over a working lunch and agreed to discuss the latter’s August 13 statement made in the Parliament over the 123-agreement.

The Communists have rejected the deal, saying it hurts India’s sovereignty and imposes US hegemony.

A discussion on the contentious Indo-US nuclear deal is expected during the Winter Session of the Parliament, which is set to begin on Thursday.

The UPA Government had already started to build a national consensus on the issue by addressing the concerns expressed by various political leaders, including the opposition BJP.

Recently National Security Advisor M K Narayanan had met top BJP leaders, L K Advani, Jaswant Singh and Rajnath Singh, and sought to address their concerns about the deal.

The BJP, which recently demanded that the deal be renegotiated, has also agreed to participate in the debate over the nuclear deal in the Parliament, even if the debate does not entail voting.

While some sections of the BJP have agreed to support the government over the nuclear deal, hardliners within the party are not keen about doing so.

The government has said that the operationalisation of the nuclear deal would be subject to the findings of the special Left-UPA committee.

The 15-member UPA-Left panel on the Indo-US nuclear deal, which was scheduled to meet for the sixth time on November 16, was postponed in the wake of the commencement of the Parliament session.

The special committee convened by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee was formed to resolve disagreements between the two sides over the nuclear deal.

The nuke-deal faces an informal US deadline related to securing approval of America’s Congress well before the next year presidential polls.

Three more steps are required to operationalise the deal that include, safeguard agreement with the IAEA, amendment in the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group’s charter and the passing of the 123-agreement by the US Congress. (ANI)

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