Anand Sharma takes on BJP, Advani on N-deal

July 21st, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) Minister of state for external affairs Anand Sharma Monday took on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani head-on over the India-US nuclear deal contending that the BJP leader had either “lost his memory” or was ‘deliberately’ and ’selectively’ forgetting things. Sharma refuted Advani’s allegations that the nuclear deal would make India subservient to the United States of America (USA).

“We are doing the nuclear deal openly and on an equal footing with the USA. We are not giving away our sovereignty,” Sharma said.

Sharma instead blamed the erstwhile BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government of holding secret parleys between external affairs minister Jaswant Singh and US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott during their tenure.

“The BJP government never took parliament and the people of this country into confidence. How can they blame us now?” the minister asked.

Sharma quoted from Talbott’s book ‘Engaging India’ which stated that, ” Jaswant said that India will sign the CTBT… Jaswant assured me that his signature would tantamount to ratification and the (Indian) parliament was only a formality.”

The minister said that Jaswant Singh never denied it.

Sharma further asserted that by signing the nuclear deal, India was not relinquishing its sovereign right to undertake future tests.

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