People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 17, 2006
Discuss US Act On Nuclear Deal In Parliament: CPI(M)
THE CPI(M) has asked the UPA government to hold a full-fledged discussion in the Indian parliament on the recent Act passed by the US legislature concerning the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal so that the parliament takes a view on the matter. Terming the Act passed by the US legislature as “grossly violative” of the assurances made by the prime minister in the Indian parliament on August 17, the CPI(M) asked the government to put on hold further negotiations. It has asserted that the legislation is unacceptable.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat addressing a press conference on this issue at AKG Bhavan on December 11, 2006 asserted that the discussion in parliament on this issue must be held in the coming few days before the end of the winter session. He explained that since the final bilateral agreement (123 Agreement) is going to be based on the framework of the Act passed by the US legislature as the US administration will be bound by it, there is no point in going ahead with negotiations without clinching these issues.
Karat informed the media that the Polit Bureau went through the full text of the final legislation passed by the US, including its annexures and it has come to the conclusion that the US legislature has not taken into consideration in any manner the concerns expressed by the prime minister in parliament. “A lot of cosmetic changes in language have been made but the content remains the same”, said Karat. He said there were nine references to Iran in the final legislation reconciled by the US Congress and asked if the agreement was between India and US why so many references to our positions regarding Iran nuclear issue. The preamble of the Act also mentions about India’s foreign policy being “congruent to that of the United States”. Karat said it is clear that this agreement will bind India and affect its independent foreign policy as also its strategic autonomy.
Asserting that once again goal posts have been shifted, Karat asked the Manmohan Singh government to come before parliament and explain where the assurances made by the prime minister on the floor of parliament stand vis a vis the final legislation passed by the US legislature. Asked about the Indian government’s response in the form of ministry of external affairs statement, Karat said there was a mention of “extraneous and prescriptive” aspects but it was more than that. The entire framework is violative of the assurances made by the prime minister.
Asked whether the BJP and the CPI(M) were not taking a similar stand on the Indo-US nuclear deal, Karat said there were differences in the areas emphasized by the parties.
Responding to another question, Karat said it is well possible that with a Democratic president in place, screws could be tightened on India given that party’s stand on nuclear non-proliferation. (INN)