N-deal will not provide energy security: Left

July 9th, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) India’s Left parties, which Wednesday formally withdrew their support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government, said the nuclear deal with the US would not provide energy security but hamper the country’s independent foreign policy and restrict strategic autonomy. In a statement coinciding with the Communists submitting their pullout letter to President Pratibha Patil, the four-party Left bloc said the Congress was providing “fertile ground for the communal forces” because it was “determined to go ahead with a further rightwing shift in both foreign and domestic policies”.

Pointing out that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had lost its “majority and legitimacy” by losing Left support, the Communists said the prime minister must face the Lok Sabha to face a trust vote.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat, who addressed a press conference along with leaders of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), also said that the government policies were not enough to stop “communal forces”. “You have to have different policies to stop them,” Karat said.

Questioning the timing of the government’s move to go ahead with the contentious deal, the Left statement said: “By going ahead with the deal at a time when there is the crushing burden of price-rise and galloping inflation, the Manmohan Singh government has clearly shown that it is more concerned about fulfilling its commitment to the Bush administration rather than meeting its commitment to the people of India. ”

According to the statement, the “dubious deal” with Bush was “the centrepiece of a number of agreements like military collaboration and concessions to US capital in the retail sector, education, etc.”

The statement went on: “The nuclear deal will not provide India energy security. Since it is anchored in a US law, the Hyde Act, it will hamper an independent foreign policy and restrict our strategic autonomy.”

Pointing out that the government violated the common minimum programme, the mutually agreed agenda for governance which did not mention about strategic ties with the US, the Left parties stated that they could not support “a course which is harmful for the people and the country’s sovereignty”.

The Communists also said the assurances given by the prime minister in parliament in August 2006 on safeguarding India’s interests in the nuclear deal were “nullified by the Hyde Act passed by the US Congress” in December that year.

“The prime minister has shown contempt for parliament by disregarding the clear views of the majority as expressed in the debate in the two houses of parliament in December 2007.”

It accused the Congress leadership of violating the understanding it made with the Left — that the outcome of the talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) secretariat would be presented to the UPA-Left nuclear committee.

Pointing out that the prime minister had announced his government’s decision to go to the IAEA on his way to Japan without telling the Left parties, the statement said: “It has become evident to the whole country that we have a prime minister whose priority is to fulfil his commitments made to President Bush. The problems faced by the people and the country can wait.”

According to the Communists, the UPA government was pursuing the neo-liberal agenda adopted by the previous Bharatiya Janata Party-led regime. “These policies are squarely responsible for the distressing spectacle of agrarian crisis, farmers’ suicides, mass poverty, price rise and unemployment. This is in stark contrast to the obscene growth of billionaires and the super rich.”

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