Parliament’s nod will be mandatory for international agreements: BJP (Lead, superseding earlier story)

April 4th, 2009 - 12:23 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Describing the Indo-US nuclear deal as done in “regrettable secrecy” by the Congress-led UPA, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said if voted to power it would bring in a constitutional amendment to make parliamentary approval mandatory before the government signs any international agreement that concerns strategic programmes, territorial integrity and economic interests.
In its party manifesto, released here Friday, the BJP said: “In view of the uncalled for and regrettable secrecy with which the Congress and the prime minister dealt with the India-US nuclear deal, the BJP proposes to introduce an amendment to the constitution to make it mandatory for government to seek parliament’s approval/ratification by two-thirds majority before signing any bilateral or multilateral agreement that impinges on India’s strategic programmes, territorial integrity and economic interest.”

It said the country needs nuclear energy, “but not at the cost of our national strategic interests. The Congress has fooled the people of India by selling the over-hyped India-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement as an absolute necessity and how it will help light up people’s homes.”

The UPA government had signed the deal by “suppressing two crucial facts”, it said. First, the government “did not make the smallest effort to tap India’s own nuclear fuel supplies”, and second, nuclear power is “tremendously expensive and not affordable for the aam admi”.

“The India-US nuclear deal, in the final analysis, is not about empowering India but disempowering India by making us dependent on American supplies and tying us to discriminatory regimes from which Pakistan is free.

“The BJP believes that India’s strategic nuclear programme has been deeply compromised by the Congress. The gains of Pokhran-II and subsequent development have been frittered away for gains that have accrued to those who wish to see India’s nuclear programme to be contained, rolled back and eventually dismantled.”

The BJP promised to “reverse this drift”.

It said India’s indigenous thorium technology programme will be expedited and given financial assistance, “correcting the grievous wrong done by the UPA government”.

It said if voted to power, the BJP will honour India’s commitments to prevent proliferation. “But it will pursue an independent nuclear policy based on the following:

1. All options will be kept open and all steps will be taken that are necessary for the

technological advancement of India’s civil and military nuclear programmes.

2. Maintain a credible minimum deterrent that is in tune with changing realities.

3. Seek cross-party consensus before agreeing to any control regime, including CTBT,

FMCR and MTCR.”

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