M A I N   N E W S

Russia: N-deal good for India
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 17
On the eve of a crucial meeting of the UPA-Left committee, Russia today strongly backed the Indo-US nuclear deal, hoping the pact would be operationalised ‘sooner rather than later’.

Addressing a press conference here, Russian ambassador to IndiaVyacheslav I Trubnikov said the deal between New Delhi and Washington was in the overall interest of India but a decision in the matter could only be taken through political processes in this country.

“The deal is useful for India but it is entirely for this country to decide at what price India is prepared to strike the deal. In my personal view, the deal will be signed sooner or later,’’ he said, indicating that the agreement could be renegotiated by India and the US even if it was not signed during George Bush’s Presidency for lack of political consensus in India.

The Russian envoy, however, was of the view that it would be better if the deal was operationalised as early as possible as that would allow India to join the international community in the sphere of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. “I am very optimistic about the deal… the sooner the better for it to become operational because that would open the doors for India to cooperate with members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in the energy field.”

Trubnikov’s comments came as the UPA government was preparing for a showdown on the pact with its Left allies. The government wants the Left parties to allow it to proceed with the safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so that the country could cooperate in the nuclear field with other nations, like France and Russia. However, the Left parties still remain adamant on giving the go ahead to the government, contending that the 123 agreement compromised with the country’s national interests.

In recent days, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee have strongly argued in favour of the nuclear deal to raise the pitch in its favour ahead of the meeting with the Left parties.

Yesterday, Mukherjee, who is the convener of the UPA-Left panel, declined to predict the outcome of the panel’s meeting. “How can I say what will happen on (June) 18… We have met earlier also… this is not the first time. Let us see what happens,” he said after a book release function.

The Russian ambassador also made it clear that Moscow could not proceed with the supply of four more reactors to India for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Station until New Delhi got clearance from the NSG for undertaking nuclear commerce. “An agreement has been initialed between the two sides but not signed. We can’t violate our international obligations as a responsible member of the NSG. We have to get a consensus in the NSG.”



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 |