Convene urgent meet of n-deal panel, demands Karat

March 6th, 2008 - 2:27 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Worried that the government may be close to finalising the nuclear deal with the US, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Pakash Karat has asked for an urgent meeting of the UPA-Left nuclear committee to discuss the status of the contentious deal, said sources. According to the sources, Karat Thursday wrote to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the 15-member nuclear panel, asking him to convene the meeting urgently and inform members about the latest developments.

The sources said that Karat has drawn the government’s attention to media reports that India has managed to nearly finalise a safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) except for the phraseology of the draft text on fuel guarantees.

Karat is believed to have pointed out that both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee made separate statements in parliament about the deal saying that the government was “seeking the broadest possible consensus within the country to enable the next step to be taken”.

Sources indicated that the communist leader wants the meeting to be held on or before March 15.

Karat’s CPI-M and its allies, who support Manmohan Singh’s government from outside, have been vehemently opposing the civil nuclear agreement with Washington saying that it would damage India’s independent foreign policy and its indigenous nuclear programme.

However, the Left parties have given a green signal to the government to go ahead with India-specific negotiations with the IAEA with a condition that it has to be discussed with the United Progressive Alliance-Left committee, formed to address the Left’s concerns, before taking any further steps.

The communists last week had reiterated that they would not back the government with signing the 123 agreement.

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