Nuclear deal Committee to meet again on October 22

November 14th, 2007 - 1:53 am ICT by admin  
After the meeting, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Committee Convener, said the two sides shared their perception on various aspects of the deal.

Discussions were also initiated on the implications of the deal on the country’s foreign policy and security cooperation, Mukherjee said.

The committee that was formed to end the face-off between Congress-led UPA and the Left that gives support to the Central Government, has decided to meet again on October 22, though many expected that the two sides are tired of finding a solution.

The Left has been insisting that the deal would make India subservient to US interests and asked the Centre not to go ahead with the ‘operationalisation’ of the deal.

After the meeting, CPI leader A B Bardhan said that the Government may not begin formal talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before Left-UPA Committee finalises its findings.

Meanwhile, the Left parties are meeting separately later today.

India is facing an informal end-October deadline to begin securing clearances from the IAEA and others to clinch the deal.

The Left parties have asked the government against negotiating with the IAEA to place India’s civilian nuclear reactors under UN safeguards, one of the first steps towards making the deal operational.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi talked with Left party leaders on Monday night in a surprise meeting and said that the government wanted to start safeguard negotiations with the IAEA.

According to media reports, the Centre’s proposal to hold negotiations with the IAEA has been rejected by the Left.

It was being speculated that the Tuesday’s panel meeting could see the government and the Left openly parting ways, paving the way for early elections.

The growing crisis came just as IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei arrived in India on a technical visit to speak at an energy conference, visit a nuclear research facility in Mumbai and meet with Indian nuclear officials.

While the IAEA says his visit is not political, the timing added to tension between the government and the deal’s opponents.

The political crisis reached a flashpoint after Sonia Gandhi on Sunday called the opponents of the nuclear deal enemies of development. Sonia’s statement was widely seen as hinting that she was ready for a snap poll.

Sonia’s remarks infuriated the Left parties, who issued a joint statement on Monday saying, “We need not to surrender our vital interests to America,” and adding that India is capable of developing own nuclear technology.

After negotiating with the IAEA, India must get clearance from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) that controls global civilian nuclear commerce. Then the deal goes back to the US Congress for a final approval.

The special UPA-Left committee, whose convenor is External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, has met several times to resolve differences that the two sides have regarding the deal, but has failed to make any noticeable progress. (ANI)

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