M A I N   N E W S

123: India rebuts Bush assertion
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 12
President George W. Bush’s determination to the US Congress specifiying that fuel supply assurances to India are not legally binding today sparked a major controversy with India asserting that the Indo-US nuclear cooperation would be carried out only on the basis of the respective rights of the two sides as contained in the 123 agreement.

With both the BJP and the Left parties getting fresh ammunition to mount attacks on the UPA regime over the controversial deal, an external affairs ministry spokesman said the government would ensure that India’s rights were fully protected while implementing the civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreement.

“The text of the India-US 123 agreement has been agreed upon by the governments of India and the United States. It is a public document. The rights and obligations of both India and the US are clearly spelt out in the terms and provisions of the 123 agreement. Once this inter-governmental agreement enters into force, the agreement would become a legal document in accordance with well-recognised principles of international law and the law of treaties,” the spokesman added.

Pointing out that India never commented on domestic political processes in the US or other countries, the spokesman, however, hastened to add that in working with the US in civil nuclear cooperation, New Delhi would be guided by the 123 agreement alone.

The government’s strong reaction to the contradictory statements emanating from Washington clearly indicates the differences in perception between the two sides.

Official sources said the government was surprised over the manner in which the US has sought to interpret the 123 agreement, adding the matter would be raised with Washington. The observation made by the US President while presenting the 123 agreement for consideration is seen here as interpretation of the pact “differently”.

The sources said the 123 agreement clearly specifies the responsibility of the US to ensure uninterrupted fuel supplies, even if it terminates its own cooperation with India due to some reason. The agreement makes it incumbent upon the US to supply fuel by itself and by working with “friends and allies” to enable India to obtain “full access to the international fuel market, including reliable, uninterrupted and continual access to fuel supplies from firms in several nations,” they added.

The Congress also claimed that the US President’s determination did not reflect the true state of affairs. “It is not based on facts…India is bound by the provisions of the 123 agreement,” AICC media cell head M Veerappa Moily told reporters here. India, he said, would be guided solely by the assurance given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament. Moily alleged that the Opposition was raising a hue and cry with the sole purpose of derailing the nuclear deal.

However, the Opposition was unsparing in its criticism of the government over the US President’s determination. Charging the government with a sellout on the nuclear deal, senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh, who was attending the party’s national executive in

Bangalore, said the government must debate the issue in Parliament.

D. Raja of the CPI said the determination by the US President vindicated the Left’s stand that India has not got a clean and unconditional waiver from the NSG as was being projected by the government.

The CPM, in a statement, said the presidential determination sent to the US Congress, contradicted the claims made by the UPA government that it has got guarantees for permanent fuel supplies and on perpetual safeguards. “The Bush determination once more proves that the Indian government has consistently misled the people of this country,” the statement added.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |