‘Government politically determined to go ahead with n-deal’

June 26th, 2008 - 8:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) The government has conveyed to the foreign policy establishment that it was “politically determined” to move forward with the India-US civil nuclear deal but asserted that the deal will not be on “auto-pilot” even if a safeguards agreement were to be reached with IAEA in Vienna. “We have been told that the government is politically determined to go ahead with the deal,” said a highly-placed official, a day after the UPA-Left committee met to discuss ways to avert a confrontation on the implementation of the deal.

“Nothing is on auto-pilot,” he added, referring to the Left’s objections contained in a note presented at the UPA-Left committee on the deal Wednesday. The Left’s note argued that since the United States would be initiating the process to get a waiver for India in guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the deal will be on “auto pilot” with India having no say in it.

“Nothing that Nuclear Suppliers Group does is binding on us, unless we agree,” he said.

While the top official noted that the US had “promised” to take the proposal for change in guidelines to the NSG as per the joint statement of 18 July 2005, “NSG has to ultimately finalise it with India”.

Further, he added, that India will go ahead with the rest of the steps after signing the safeguards agreement that will open up trade in nuclear technology and fuel with the rest of the world.

“It will be ridiculous that we do IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and not the rest,” said the top official, who requested he not be identified.

But that decision will have to be taken by the political establishment. “How is to be done - that is a political decision,” he stated.

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