UPA government committed to nuclear deal: Shyam Saran

May 6th, 2008 - 9:41 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) A few hours before India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left sat to discuss the Indo-US nuclear deal Tuesday, the prime minister’s special envoy on the pact, Shyam Saran, said the government remained committed to the agreement. “This government has a commitment to the agreement and every effort possible will be made to see the deal through,” Saran said at a press interaction organised by the Indian Women’s Press Corps. “The deal is not dead.”

He accepted that the deal had to go through a “certain political process”, which was “inevitable in a democracy” and in the country’s best interests.

“People have concerns over India’s strategic programme, our indigenous research and development programme. They have said these should be sacrosanct and should not be compromised,” Saran said.

The former foreign secretary pointed out that it would be wise to do the deal “sooner rather than later”.

“Obviously, we should have the deal sooner rather than later. As the process continues, the level of political uncertainty will increase.”

He admitted that there were “the political ground realities here and there” but added that it was a “joint enterprise” between India and US for which both governments have to work together and make it a reality.

“The encouraging aspect is that at last there is broad bipartisan support for the deal, which is based on the recognition that Indo-US relations are important and will become even more important in the future.

“People have concerns over India’s strategic programme, our indigenous R&D programme. They have said these should be sacrosanct and should not be compromised,” Saran said, adding that the government was trying to ensure that “whatever was promised in the joint statement becomes a practical reality”.

The nuclear committee of the UPA and its Left allies at their meeting will take stock of New Delhi’s negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the India-US civil nuclear agreement.

The discussions in the eighth round of the 15-member UPA-Left nuclear committee meeting will centre on the clarifications sought by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat from External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The minister heads the panel.

At their last meeting March 17, the Communists, who oppose the operationalisation of the the nuclear pact with the US, insisted on taking a look at the draft agreement between India and the IAEA. But they did not get to see it.

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