M A I N   N E W S

PM’s reply mellows CPM on N-deal
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight accomplished his domestic political mission at the end of his 85-minute reply to the eight-hour-long short-duration discussion on Indo-US nuclear deal — the CPM dropped its demand for a “sense of Parliament” resolution.

He also took a significant step forward to achieve the diplomatic objective of securing an American legislation on a historic nuclear deal — which no two countries in the world have ever reached at — within the parameters of July 18, 2005 joint statement and March 2, 2006 Indian Separation Plan.

Dr Manmohan Singh handed a veiled warning to anti-deal American lawmakers when he said India would make “its own assessment” of its nuclear weapons programme in this “uncertain and unpredictable world” and made it clear that it must remain the “cardinal principle” of the Indian nuclear policy.

What the Prime Minister meant was that India would not hesitate to explode another nuclear device if it were in the country’s strategic interests — deal or no deal with the US on civilian nuclear cooperation.

He reminded the international community — in an obvious reference to India’s nuclear neighbourhood — that “while India remained committed to total nuclear disarmament, in this uncertain world, unpredictable world, we have legitimate concerns”.

The Prime Minister also batted on yet another important turf when he announced that he would meet on August 26 country’s top scientists and nuclear experts, including the eight retired scientists who wrote a stinging letter to him on August 14.

The urgency shown by the Prime Minister for consulting the scientific community the very next day after Monsoon Session of Parliament gets over is enough to take the wind out of the Opposition’s sails on the subject.

Dr Manmohan Singh pointed out that the final US law would only be known after the Senate voting and a reconciliation process with what the US Congress had decided.

He categorically stated that even at that time India would not accept anything that went against India’s interest or was outside the July, 2005 agreement.

Against this backdrop, CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, the pivotal force behind the move for a “sense of Parliament” resolution on Indo-US nuclear deal, said while there need not be a resolution — the Left’s original demand — there should be some reflection of what Parliament’s stand was.

Mr Yechury’s remarks conveyed a clear political message that the CPM was no longer on board with parties like the BJP and the SP, which have been pressing for the binding Parliamentary resolution.

The CPI, another important constituent of the Left, had already disembarked from the resolution bandwagon.





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