We can neither end nor mend n-deal: Mukherjee

March 20th, 2008 - 12:33 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) India can neither end nor mend the nuclear deal, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Wednesday, even as the government’s Left allies reiterated their threat to withdraw support over the issue. “We are in a stage where neither can we mend it nor end it. We are in the dialogue stage,” Mukherjee said in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, responding to the concerns raised by the Left parties.

Participating in a debate on foreign policy, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said: “If it falters, we will pull down the government. We cannot afford to be drawn into the strategic tie-ups. We will not permit the government to succumb to the US pressure.”

“Although we support the government now, we will be the first to oppose the government if it succumbs to the pressure,” he added.

Referring to the quadrilateral military exercise also including India and the US in the region, Yechury said: “It is a clear indication that we are part of a set-up in the leadership of US in the region.”

He alleged that pressure was mounted on India to “divert its foreign policy”.

In his reply, Mukherjee also referred to the negotiations for an India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), noting that there had been some advance in talks, but the agreement had not been inked.

Rejecting the Bharatiya Janata Party’s demand for a joint parliamentary committee on the deal, Mukherjee said: “When the entire process is over, we will come and seek parliament’s opinion. Let that stage come.”

He stressed that parliament had never before scrutinized an international agreement.

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