New Delhi: India’s main communist party said it would discuss the timing of withdrawal from the government over the civilian nuclear deal with the United States due to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to a G8 summit.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI (M), is one of the left parties that support the government. The parties say they will withdraw from the coalition if Singh moves ahead with a deal they believe will make India a pawn of Washington.
Singh is reported to want to proceed with the deal before the G8 summit on July 7 in Japan.
“He had said he would only go (to the summit) if he gets clearance to go ahead with the nuclear deal,” Prakash Karat, the head of the CPI (M), told the Hindustan Times on Tuesday.
“His going to Japan is an indication that they (the government) are going ahead with the deal. We are therefore discussing the timing of the withdrawal.”
The statement is the latest in the war of words between the two allies as speculation mounts that the communists will withdraw, plunging India into possible early elections this year and months of political uncertainty.
Asked specifically if the communist parties would withdraw their support if the prime minister went to Japan, Karat said: “That is not the case yet.”
With time running out before President George W. Bush leaves office, there are increasing signs Singh wants to go ahead with the accord even if it leads to the collapse of his coalition.
On Monday, Indian shares fell 2.5% to post their biggest monthly loss in 16 years as political uncertainty and soaring oil prices took their toll on investor sentiment.
A flurry of meetings are scheduled this week by the government, its non-communist allies and leftist parties.
Singh wants to be allowed to move ahead getting clearances from the International Atomic Energy Agency and 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, procedures that could take months.
The pact would then have to go to the US Congress for final approval before the end of Bush’s term.