SP, CPI (M) holds talks over Indo-US nuclear deal

July 1st, 2008 - 11:53 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, July 1 (ANI): Samajwadi Partys General Secretary Amar Singh held talks with his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) counterpart Prakash Karat here today as the standoff over the Indo-US nuclear deal between the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and the left parties continued.

SP General Secretary, who held deliberations on the deal with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday, making the first contact between the SP and Centre ruling Congress Party, since the deadlock, said if fresh facts are given, they were ready for talks.

UPA is looking for a replacement of its left allies, who have been threatening to withdraw support if it moves ahead with the deal.

“All the information what we have is on the behalf of the facts provided to us by the Communists and not by the government. If we are given new facts then we are ready for talks. For the first time we have received a message from National Security Advisor, and we will be having a meeting at my residence tomorrow. If we will get new facts in the meet, then with those facts we will approach the communists and the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA). And then if the need arises will talk to you,” said Amar Singh.

The communists are opposing the deal, saying it compromises India’s sovereignty and security and have threatened to withdraw vital support from the ruling coalition if the government moves ahead with it.

The Communist party said it remained committed to its stand that the government should not finalise an India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Meanwhile Mulayam Singh Yadav, chief of SP remained not committal on the issue.

“Discussions take place with every body. When we met Karat, it was asked that what were the talks about. All these are political discussions and they will themselves come before you. When there is a meeting, discussions are always there,” Yadav told reporters in New Delhi.

The agreement is the centrepiece of a new strategic relationship between New Delhi and Washington, and seen as crucial to ending India’s isolation in international nuclear trade after it conducted a nuclear tests.

The deal, which promises India access to American nuclear fuel and technology, is also viewed as vital to the huge energy needs of Asia’s third-largest economy, whose growth is being threatened by soaring international crude prices and high inflation.

But unless rapid progress is made in the next week or so, the agreement has almost no chance of being finalised before U.S. President George W. Bush leaves office and India heads for elections by next May.

While time runs out, the deal still needs clearances from the IAEA board of governors and the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Then it would have to go to the U.S. Congress for final approval. (ANI)

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