Pranab underlines benefits of Indo-US nuke deal in Parliament

November 28th, 2007 - 10:36 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Nov 28 (ANI): In an attempt to brush aside the concerns of the Opposition and the Left parties on the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today underlined the benefits of the bilateral deal during a debate on the issue in Lok Sabha.

In his speech in the lower house, Mukherjee said the deal was in Indias favour, as it would help cut the cost of power to a good extent.

India imports 100 billion barrel of oil by paying a heavy amount, and the bilateral deal would cut the cost of power, he said.

Mukherjee went on to ay that through this deal with Washington, New Delhi would be able to increase the power capacity to meet the increasing demand across the country.

He further said that the agreement, which was paved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush on July 18, 2005 during the formers visit to Washington, would also enable India to get access to the nuclear technology for civilian use, which would prove beneficial for the country in future.

Pointing out that the process was not yet completed for operationalising the deal, the minister said that the Government has discussed and briefed about every step taken in this direction to the Parliament.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the civilian nuclear agreement would not tie the hands of the Government from conducting a nuclear test in future.

“If a necessity for carrying out a nuclear test arises in future, there is nothing in the agreement that prevents us from carrying out tests,” Singh said while intervening an Oppositions point during the debate.

Singh’s assurance came when the Leader of Opposition L K Advani said in his speech that the terms of the 123 agreement with the US would stop India from conducting a nuclear test in future. Advani said the deal was “unacceptable” as it was “deeply detrimental” to the country’s long-term interests.

The Prime Minister went on to say that what the UPA Government has done was only to reiterate what the previous National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government did by committing itself to a unilateral moratorium on conducting nuclear tests.

The much-awaited debate on the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation deal started at 2 p.m. under rule 193 of the Rules of Procedure of the House. Under the rule, there cannot be voting at the end of the debate.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi on Tuesday said that the “Sense of the House cannot be obtained in a short-duration discussion under Rule 193. You cannot reach a conclusion on a debate which has not been voted in the House.”

Dasmunsi indicated that Rajya Sabha might take up the discussion only after December 1.

The government was ready for an early debate on the matter but the Opposition insisted on the presence of Singh during the discussion.

The debate on the deal is taking place at a time when the government has approached the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for India-related nuclear safeguards after the Left gave the government a go ahead for it.
The Left, providing crucial outside support to the Congress-led coalition, is a consistent critic of the deal and has warned the government against operationalising it. (ANI)

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