‘Indo-US deal will not affect country’s strategic programme’

‘Indo-US deal will not affect country’s strategic programme’
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First Published: Fri, Sep 21 2007. 12 42 PM IST
Updated: Fri, Sep 21 2007. 12 42 PM IST
New Delhi: With the Left allies stepping up the campaign against the Indo-US nuclear deal, the Congress has come out with a booklet rejecting charges that the agreement would affect India’s ability to conduct an independent foreign policy and strategic programme.
Putting forward its point of view in the key matter, the party has also denied that the 123 agreement would in any way affect India’s right to conduct nuclear tests.
The 21-page booklet brought out to counter “inadequate information, cynical criticism and partisan politics” said any informed discussion must trace India’s “long and difficult” journey to attain nuclear self-reliance.
“This agreement is not at the cost of the autonomy of our strategic nuclear programme, our three-stage programme and our research and development activities,” it said.
Referring to the Hyde Act it said “it is only a US law. It is not binding on India. We have entered into a bilateral agreement with the US.”
Besides it said the Hyde Act is an “enabling legislation” passed in the US Congress.
“As far as India is concerned we are committed to the terms and provisions of the 123 agreement only,” it said.
The US administration has categorically assured India that the Hyde Act enables it to fulfil all of the commitments made in the July 18 and March joint statement, the booklet said.
Backing the Government on the issue, the AICC said “a responsive government embraces a correct approach to meet the genuine needs of its people”.
It recalled that the Government had given categorical assurances that any agreement reached will be within defined parameters guaranteeing India the right to reprocess, create strategic fuel reserves and access full nuclear cooperation with the international community.
“There has been no departure. All the commitments have been fully honoured,” it said adding that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken into account all apprehensions expressed by the opposition or even the supporting parties and responded to each clarification sought.
Besides, the party made it clear that the agreement has been negotiated between two sovereign States-- India and the United States.
“India has done this as an equal partner,” it said adding the Government has pursued the negotiations with an “unprecedented nature of transparency which was underscored by three full debates in both house of Parliament”.
“The Indian National Congress had throughout placed India’s national interests above politics. Any charge of India’s strategic and sovereign interests having been compromised is preposterous and, therefore, deserves to be rejected,” it added.
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First Published: Fri, Sep 21 2007. 12 42 PM IST