M A I N   N E W S

Left decries Indo-US N-pact, fears
‘compromise’ on national security
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
The much-hailed “breakthough” in the civilian nuclear cooperation between India and US came in for a sharp criticism from the Left parties today.

The Left apprehended that the pact would hamper New Delhi’s pursuit of an independent nuclear technology policy for peaceful purposes.

“India as a major developing country needs to have a balanced and equitable relationship with the United States," the CPM said.

" The joint statement does not give much credence to this aspect. India continues to give more concessions compared to what the United States has to offer,” the CPM, in its first reaction to the joint statement, stressed.

The party said, “ The joint statement and the various briefings of the visit are silent about what the US has got in return for offering civilian nuclear cooperation."

"The government should clarify whether any understanding has been reached about buying US defence equipment to the tune of billions of dollars,” it demanded.

“ The CPM expects the government not to undertake unilateral measures which may compromise national security,” it warned, clearly indicating that the Left parties would give a hard time to the Congress-led UPA government in the forthcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning on Monday.

The CPI secretariat said the agreement amounted to a universal reversal of India's earlier nuclear policy without any prior discussion in Parliament, or with the UPA or the Left whereas the US would have to seek agreement from its Congress.

The CPM said, “The current agreements marks an end of India’s nuclear disarmament policy. There are apprehensions that with the intangible promises made by the US, restrictions will be imposed which will hamper the pursuit of an independent nuclear technology policy for peaceful purposes.

"There is also the question as to whether research activities for overcoming reliance on import of nuclear fuel will be hampered ?”

The Left parties, which sought time to study the fine print before reacting, were also critical of the manner in which Manmohan Singh-led UPA government went ahead with the agenda.

“It was incumbent on the government to place their views and proposals for discussions with all the parties concerned before deciding on the course of action,” the party said

It also warned, “The UPA government that it should not continue this undemocratic practice”.

The CPM, which has been taking the government to task on key economic issues, said, “It is important that India carefully calibrate its steps strictly in response to measures taken by the US, the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the IAEA.”

Under the deal with Washington, India agreed to bifuricate its civilian and nuclear facilities and programmes in a phased manner and to place its civilian nuclear facilities under the scanner of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

New Delhi, short of domestic uranium to fuel its nuclear plants, now hopes the US will resume supplies to two reactors it helped India setting up at Tarapur near Mumbai in 1969.

The party said there was no clear-cut commitment by the US about India’s permanent membership in the UN Security Council and Washington had opposed the G-4 resolution in the United Nations regarding the expansion of the Security Council.

On combating terrorism and strengthening democracy across the globe, the party said, “it does not serve India’s interests to applaud US leadership either for spreading democracy or combating terrorism.”

Stating that US was hardly an ideal example of upholding democracy around the world, the CPM said, “Instead of the bilateral global democracy initiative, it would have been better if the joint statement had confined itself to stating that only through the United Nations can democratic practices be strengthened.”

Regarding terrorism, the CPM said it would be better if the government of India realises that an important aspect of global terrorism today is the use of state-terrorism and the gross violation of national sovereignty which in turn spawns fundamentalism and terrorism.

Iraq today was a glaring example of how imperialist aggression and state-terrorism had resulted in an upsurge of terrorist violence not seen before within Iraq and which had now affected European capitals like Madrid and London, it added.

Meanwhile, the top leadership of the Left parties will meet here tomorrow to finalise the strategy for the Monsoon Session of Parliament, starting July 25.


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