UPA-Left meet to discuss IAEA negotiations

May 6th, 2008 - 5:18 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) The nuclear committee of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and its Left allies is meeting Tuesday to take stock of New Delhi’s negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the India-US civil nuclear agreement. The discussions in the eighth round of the 15-member UPA-Left nuclear committee meeting will centre on the clarifications sought by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat from External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The minister heads the panel.

At their last meeting March 17, the Communists, who oppose the operationalisation of the the nuclear pact with the US, insisted on taking a look at the draft agreement between India and the IAEA. But they did not get to see it.

The government had presented salient features of the draft pact but refused to share the document.

The Left, which extends crucial legislative support to the Congress-led UPA government, had given a green light to the government to talk to the UN atomic watchdog on the condition that the UPA-Left panel would have to approve the final draft of the pact.

On Monday, Manmohan Singh said that his government would discuss “whatever issues our colleagues will like to raise”.

Mukherjee consulted India’s ambassador to the US, Ronen Sen, Monday to apprise himself on the latest developments in Washington, particularly those pertaining to the nuclear deal.

The Left parties’ concern relate to the Hyde Act, which is linked to the 123 agreement India and the US plan to sign to operationalize their cooperation in the filed of civil nuclear energy.

The Communists fear the Hyde Act would impinge on India’s sovereign rights. The government denies this.

The safeguards agreement with the IAEA, once signed by India, would be placed before the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. The group would then bring about amendments in its existing guidelines to facilitate nuclear commerce with India.

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