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Breakfast with Manmohan fails to cool down Karat
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 14
In yet another attempt to mollify the Communists, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today hosted a breakfast meeting for CPM general secretary Prakash Karat. But, that does not seem to have cooled the relations between the UPA and the outside supporters.

Although the two sides reiterated that “efforts would be made to sort out the differences” on the nuclear deal, the CPM later came out with a statement reiterating its stand that “the government should not proceed with operationalising the bilateral (123) agreement.”

The breakfast with the Prime Minister gave a glimmer of hope that the crisis between the Congress-led UPA and the Left parties would blow over but the point by point attack on Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament by the CPM seems to indicate that the Communists were hardening their stance as “America” looms large in the deal.

Karat reportedly informed the Prime Minister that he would put forth the points discussed at the meeting before the party’s politburo, which meets here on August 17 and 18.

However, the party’s statement clearly indicates that the CPM is in no mood to let go the issue. The CPM said, “The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament does not shed any new light on the India US nuclear agreement that calls for a reassessment on our part. He has reiterated his position on the agreement and has not addressed the issues that we have raised.”

One of the more important issues raised by the Left right from the beginning is the link that the agreement has had on India’s foreign policy. Here, the issue is not what the Prime Minister is saying but what his government is doing.

The Defence Framework Agreement of 2005, the Logistics Support Agreement being negotiated currently, joint naval exercises being planned and the stand on the Iran nuclear issue are there before us.

“Therefore, it is difficult to agree with the Prime Minister that this agreement has no impact on our independent foreign policy, especially when the US officials are busy selling the agreement to the US Congress on the strategic value of India aligning with the US as a consequence of the agreement,” it said.

The party said apart from the foreign policy, on other matters also the Prime Minister’s statement didn’t address the issues we had raised. The Prime Minister, for instance, had said that the annual certification did not find a place in the 123 Agreement, implying that therefore that clause of the Hyde Act was not being implemented. A simple reading of the constitutional practice of the US would clarify that the annual certification was an obligation of the US President, which he was bound to fulfil. That it does not find a place in the 123 Agreement is not relevant, the party added.

The issue that we have raised is if a “good conduct certificate” is not forthcoming or if the US Congress does not accept the good conduct certificate given (on issues ranging from Iran to anything that may come up in the future) what would be the implications for the 123 Agreement. In our understanding, the US could terminate the agreement with all its consequences for our civilian nuclear energy programme, the party said. The Left statement has explained in detail, why the parties do not think that life-term security for nuclear fuel has been achieved in the agreement.

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