Beijing, New Delhi: The Left parties, part of the ruling UPA combination, on Tuesday rejected the landmark nuclear pact between New Delhi and Washington. This came on a day that also witnessed China adopting a flexible stand on the same Indo-US nuclear deal by expressing willingness to do some “creative thinking” along with the international community in the Nuclear Suppliers Group on the issues involved.
The communist parties, condemned the pact saying it compromised India’s sovereignty and imposed U.S. influence. “The Left calls upon the government not to proceed further with the operationalising of the agreement,” a joint statement by the country’s four main communist parties said.
The fresh opposition by the communists comes days after India and the United States unveiled the text of the nuclear pact which will govern nuclear commerce between the two countries if and when it is approved by U.S. Congress.
While the Indian Left decided to play the spoilsport, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jiancho said: “China believes that countries can develop the cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear energy abiding by their respective international obligations,”
Relevant cooperation will help maintain and strengthen the effectiveness of international nuclear non-proliferation principles, Liu told PTI here when asked to comment on the recent agreement between India and the US on the nuclear deal.
While Beijing’s reaction to the 123 Agreement remains more or less the same as in the past, a change was noticeable when asked about China’s stance at the next meeting of the NSG, where it had opposed the agreement in the past.
“It is hoped that the international community can explore and properly handle the issue by creative thinking,” Liu said, indicating a significant change of stance.
Commenting on the Chinese foreign ministry’s statement, former Chinese Ambassador to India, Cheng Ruisheng said it clearly showed that Beijing would not adopt a “dogmatic” stance on the India-US nuclear issue.
“It is my personal view that China will adopt a flexible attitude,” Cheng, also a leading Chinese scholar on South Asian affairs, told PTI. Since the Indian and the US governments have concluded the agreement, China is unlikely to go against it, he said, noting that Beijing was one of the latest entrants to the 45-member NSG.
Cheng said he viewed the Indo-US civilian nuclear energy agreement as a good deal for India.
In the past, several leading Chinese experts and the official Chinese media have commented against the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, saying it would derail international non-proliferation efforts.
Chinese objections to the nuclear deal in the past hinged on two aspects: India should first sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) before it can reap the fruits of the nuclear deal and that the nuke deal would alter the strategic balance in the region and fuel an arms race.
China’s closest ally, Pakistan, too, had taken a similar position.
Some analysts say if China adopts a cooperative stance on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, it would greatly boost bilateral strategic ties and bring about greater political trust between the two Asian giants.
They also say that Beijing’s no-objection stance would also be “conducive” for the planned China visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later this year.