BJP asks UPA to end charade on n-deal, take stand

June 2nd, 2008 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) With the India-US nuclear deal entering a make-or-break phase, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday poured cold waters on the government’s attempts to forge consensus by again rejecting the deal and asking the ruling UPA coalition to “end the charade” and “take a clear stand” on the issue. “Why do they blame either their partners or the opposition. It is for them (Congress) to arrive at a solution,” senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, also a former foreign minister, told reporters while briefing them on the foreign policy resolution adopted at the party’s national executive here.

“Losing the right to conduct nuclear tests is unacceptable,” the BJP leader said, reiterating the party’s chief reason for rejecting the deal which it fears will lead to “the loss or diminution of the country’s strategic autonomy.”

Uncompromising in its rejection of the deal, the resolution attacked the government for its attempt “to reduce India to a second-class status in the global nuclear order” and narrowing the multi-faceted India-US relations to “a single issue.”

The government’s obsession with the deal, India’s chief opposition party charged, has led to Indian foreign policy becoming “paralysed with a grand illusion” that the deal is a panacea to the country’s economic and technological modernization.

In the process, “all other foreign policy goals and relationships have become subservient to the successful culmination of the deal,” the party alleged.

The party accused the government of stagnating the India-Russia relations, “India’s most enduring strategic partnership,” and making the country’s international relations “unidirectional.”

“Therefore, the BJP has closely maintained that the deal in its present form is unacceptable and must be renegotiated,” the resolution said.

The resolution was blisteringly critical of confusion and divide in the UPA camp on the issue of the nuclear deal and asked the government to first put its house in order rather then blaming others.

“We are offered daily tantalizing statements by the PM; somewhat more realistic ones by the external affairs minister and unambiguous rejection of the Congress stand by various constituents of the UPA,” the resolution said. “Why plead with the BJP then, set your own house in order, we say,” the party said.

“Because the Congress can, on its own, resolve this issue simply by taking a stand: for or against; why does it not do so?”

“Instead, the prime minister has now taken to rather piteously citing the examples of recent statements by people outside the government,” the resolution said in a reference to former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra’s approving remarks about the nuclear deal.

The strongly-worded resolution set all speculation at rest about a possible rethink by the BJP on the nuclear deal that is in danger of being put in cold storage if the Left allies of the government does not soften its opposition to it.

Launching a frontal assault on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s “maladroit” handling of the India-US relations, the resolution said the government has reduced this relationship to a single issue and critiqued a “completely unnecessary now or never kind of desperation attached to it.”

“The BJP would remind the PM that desperation is no alternative to policy. This is a great wrong done by Dr Manmohan Singh, by the UPA to India and also to the US and Indo-US relations,” the party alleged.

The nuclear deal is currently stalled due to the Left parties’ uncompromising opposition to it. The Communist allies of the government must approve of India’s safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before the deal can go forward.

If the Left and the government do not mend fences on the deal, it will virtually doom its fate at least in the near future.

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