Waiver neither clean nor unconditional, charges CPI-M

September 7th, 2008 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Sunday contested the government’s claims saying the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver was “neither clean nor unconditional” and “reflected continuous concessions” India has made to the US over the last three years. “The NSG waiver opening the doors to nuclear trade for India after a three-day-long meeting is neither clean nor unconditional and reflects the continuous concessions that India has made on this issue,” the CPI-M politburo said in a statement entitled “On NSG Waiver: Another Surrender”.

“Starting from the joint statement of July 18, 2005, India has given in steadily to US pressure, starting with the 123 Agreement, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguard and now finally the NSG,” said the CPI-M that leads the four-party Left Front.

The Left parties withdrew their support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in July on the issue of the India-US nuclear deal which they suspect will reduce New Delhi to a pawn of Washington’s strategic interests.

Punching large holes in the waiver adopted by consensus in the NSG, the party charged that “it has converted the voluntary moratorium on testing into a multilateral commitment.

“India has now agreed that any fuel supply agreement will be subject to periodic NSG review and subject to India’s moratorium on testing. While India clearly does not have fuel supply assurances as claimed by the government, the safeguards on India’s nuclear facilities will be in perpetuity,” the party said while contesting the government’s claims to the contrary.

The NSG has yet to formally release the text of the waiver.

The government has hailed the waiver as historic with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calling it “momentous and forward-looking”.

In a statement Saturday soon after the NSG granted waiver, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the exemption fitted the government’s assurances given to parliament - a reference to Manmohan Singh’s repeated statements in parliament that the government did not compromise India’s right to test a nuclear device.

Accusing the government of hiding full implications of the 123 India-US bilateral agreement, the CPI-M contended that the waiver ensures that the ban on exporting sensitive enrichment and reprocessing technologies will continue - an assertion that contradicts the government’s claim of achieving full civil nuclear cooperation with the international commitment.

The party also attacked Mukherjee’s Friday statement reiterating India’s known positions on voluntary moratorium on testing and universal nuclear disarmament, which played a key role in winning the NSG waiver, saying the reference to the statement in para 3 of the waiver text has committed India “to aligning with international efforts to limit the spread of ENR (enrichment and reprocessing) equipment or technologies to states who do not have them”.

The party has interpreted this as an attempt by the US to rope in India to deny Iran the fuel cycle.

“Joining US efforts on Iran is one of the conditions of the Hyde Act. With the Sep 5 statement, India is now fully a party to the non-proliferation regime, which it has always held to be discriminatory and, therefore, unstable,” the CPI-M charged.

The party also contended that although India is not part of the NSG, it has also agreed to an open-ended commitment that it will abide by all NSG guidelines including future changes irrespective of what these changes might be.

The party again tried to stir anxieties about the contentious Hyde Act, which contains prescriptive conditions, saying: “The passage of the NSG waiver on the current terms is designed to make India adhere more firmly to the terms and conditions of the Hyde Act.”

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