Congress hails historic n-deal, BJP vows to renegotiate it (Lead)

October 2nd, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) With the ruling Congress terming the India-US civilian nuclear deal “historic”, the communist opposition slamming it as a surrender to US imperialism and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vowing to renegotiate the deal if it came to power, reactions to the US Senate clearing the enabling 123 Agreement with a resounding 86-13 majority were predictably diverse.”It is a historic day. The deal is in the interest of India. It is a recognition of India as a superpower and the triumph of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s vision,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, who has been vigorously defending the deal at many forums, said the passage of the nuclear deal by the US Senate would silence all critics.

“It is beneficial for everyone, whether rich or poor. Everyone wants power,” Sibal maintained.

While the Congress exulted, the BJP maintained that the government had knowingly stepped into a blind trap and would not be able to get out of it easily.

“There are certain clauses in the 123 Agreement which we do not agree upon. If we come to power (after next year’s general elections), we would renegotiate on those points,” BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters here.

“The deal has been done at the cost of the country’s sovereignty and nuclear independence. We don’t accept it in its current form,” he added.

The Left parties, which withdrew support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in July over differences on the nuclear deal, also said they would step up their protests despite the US Senate’s resounding endorsement.

“The United Progressive Alliance government has committed to buy $70 billion worth of energy (generating capacity) from the ‘dying US nuclear industry’,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat said.

“India is committing to buy a minimum 10,000 MW (of generating capacity) worth $70 billion from the dying US nuclear industry, which has not received any new orders for the last 30 years,” Karat said during a press conference convened to urge the government not to sign the nuclear deal as “it will be a surrender”.

To substantiate his statement, Karat cited a letter he said was written by Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon to US Under Secretary William Burns on Sep 10.

“It is going to indemnify suppliers from all consequences of a nuclear accident,” the CPI-M leader warned.

“We will observe Oct 4, the day US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in New Delhi to sign the India-US civil nuclear deal, as a Black Day and will protest the surrender to US imperialism,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Nilotpal Basu.

A. Vijayraghavan, the party’s central secretariat member and chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, said Prime Minister Singh had damaged parliamentary procedures and neglected the sentiments of the people.

“The US has succeeded in clearing every democratic procedure in haste to finalise the deal which ultimately favours them but Manmohan Singh has undermined our parliamentary democratic set-up and neglected the sentiments of the people,” he added.

Rice, who played a pivotal role to secure the passage of the deal with numerous meetings and phone calls to US lawmakers, is expected to carry the deal package to New Delhi Saturday.

She and India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would sign the 123 Agreement to operationalise the deal.

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