PM says India will go ahead with n-deal

June 30th, 2008 - 3:26 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday asserted that his government would push ahead with the India-US civil nuclear deal but also expressed the hope that he could work out an “arrangement” with all the parties concerned including the stridently critical Left. As speculation intensifies over the future of the government — if the Left carries out its threat to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) once the government went ahead with the deal — the prime minister said the Communists’ opposition was not new.

In an informal chat with reporters after releasing India’s climate change action plan, Manmohan Singh was quick to add that the government would revert to parliament after finalising the India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the two crucial moves to take ahead the 123 agreement with Washington.

“There is a lot of interest in the country over the nuclear deal,” he said.

Manmohan Singh’s remarks came a day after the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) announced that the Left, which props the ruling UPA with its 61 MPs in the Lok Sabha, would pull down the government if the nuclear deal was taken forward.

After a meeting of the party politburo Sunday, the CPI-M issued a statement: “In case the government decides to go ahead with such a harmful agreement, which has no majority support in parliament, the CPI-M will withdraw support to the UPA government in concert with the Left parties.”

In this crucial week before Manmohan Singh departs for the G-8 Summit in Japan, the UPA government will make an attempt to push the contentious nuclear deal by garnering political support from the Samajwadi Party and others, said Congress sources.

The office bearers of the Congress are meeting Tuesday to discuss the party’s stance in the wake of the CPI-M’s declaration.

“If we have to get the deal approved by the US Congress, we have to get the IAEA final nod by the first half of July,” said a minister in Manmohan Singh’s government.

He said the government had to get the India-specific safeguards agreement approved by IAEA board of governors by the first half of July and the consent of the NSG by August-September. The time-frame would have to be kept “so the special session of the US Congress, which is meeting in October, can pass the 123 agreement”.

“If we have to save the deal, we have to finalise the IAEA pact as early as possible,” the minister added.

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