123 sole guiding spirit of n-deal: PMSeptember 13th, 2008 - 11:27 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday underlined that the 123 agreement “is the sole guiding spirit” of the India-US nuclear deal and vigorously defended the pact, saying it will enable India make “a giant leap” in the energy sector. “Prime Minister Manmohan said the 123 agreement is the guiding spirit of the India-US civil nuclear deal. India is bound only by the 123 agreement,” Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily told reporters after an extended meeting of the Congress Working Committee.
The meet was attended by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and other senior cabinet ministers and party leaders.
“To sustain 8.9 percent GDP growth, sustained growth in the energy sector is needed. So the nuclear deal will help the country make a giant leap in the energy sector,” Moily quoted Manmohan Singh telling the Congress top brass.
Manmohan Singh’s remarks came a day after US President George Bush made a presidential determination and sent a memo to the US Congress that, according to some reports, says fuel guarantees made to India are “not legally binding”.
Opposition parties were quick to seize on this and accused the government of misleading the nation on the crucial issue of fuel guarantees.
The foreign office was quick to react. In a statement Friday, external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna stressed that India is only bound by the 123 agreement and does not concern itself with internal process of another country.
Congress chief and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chair Sonia Gandhi also made an impassioned defence of the nuclear deal and exhorted party workers to “debunk the false propaganda being spread by the BJP, the Left parties and other political opponents”.
“The success of the negotiations is a clear vindication of his conviction, which I share, that this agreement fully protects our strategic environment and is in the best interests of our nation and our people,” Gandhi said.
She was alluding to India’s safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the waiver granted by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to resume global nuclear trade with India.
Gandhi lauded Manmohan Singh’s “leadership and sustained efforts” that culminated in these defining steps that have put the nuclear deal on a fast track.
Saying there are “economic, technological and political dimensions of this agreement,” Gandhi said it will increase India’s power generating capacity and propel the country to the forefront of research and development.
“Politically, the special status of India and its capabilities in the nuclear field have finally been recognized by the world,” Gandhi told the party’s top leadership.
The nuclear deal is now before the US Congress for its final approval. There are indications that it will be ready for signing when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Bush meet in Washington Sep 25.