Advani attacks n-deal, Brajesh sings praises

April 27th, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Even as the Manmohan Singh government tries to push forward the India-US civil nuclear deal, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday reiterated its opposition to it saying “no country can give in writing that it will not undertake nuclear tests in future”. “No country can… Has any other country said that hereafter we will have no further tests?” Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani asked in an interview over Asianet channel.

“Has the US given any such undertaking, has any other country which has so much nuclear weaponry said it in writing?” he asked.

“It is one thing to voluntarily give it up but to say it in writing as part of a treaty is another,” he said.

Analysts say the BJP appears to be speaking in different voices about the nuclear deal, which continues to remain mired in domestic politics, with former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra saying not signing it would be a “severe loss of face” for India.

“I think we should go ahead with the deal,” Mishra told Karan Thapar in an interview in the CNN-IBN news channel’s Devil’s Advocate programme broadcast Sunday night.

“Obviously, dual-use technology will not be available to us if we don’t go through with this and, of course, it’s a setback. It will be a severe loss of face for the government of India and for India,” he said.

Mishra’s comments are significant as he is also regarded as close to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP.

Mishra’s views are in sharp contrast to the position of the BJP which has taken a hostile view of the deal and accused the government of trying to sacrifice the country’s sovereignty to conclude the deal.

Asked whether the government should go ahead with the deal even if the BJP and the Left parties were opposed to it, Mishra said: “That’s a political question… my personal view is that given the harmful effects of not going ahead, perhaps, we should go ahead and do it.”

He also made it abundantly clear that renegotiating the deal - a suggestion that has come from the BJP as well as the Left parties - with the next government in the US after the elections, irrespective of whether it has a Democrat or a Republican president, would be very difficult with the possibility of new provisions and clauses being added to the text.

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