New Delhi: Accusing the government of compromising national sovereignty, opposition parties led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday demanded scrapping of the end-use monitoring agreement with the US.
The pact—verifying the end use of US military hardware that India purchases—was agreed upon in New Delhi on Monday by foreign minister S.M. Krishna and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The document paves way for increased defence deals between the two countries.
The ruling United Progressive Alliance defended the move by saying the understanding was in the interests of the country. “(The) question of bartering of our freedom and sovereignty does not arise. What was being done at the high-end defence purchases is being done now. End-use clause was incorporated earlier,” Krishna told the the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
On the defensive: External affairs minister S.M. Krishna. B Mathur / Reuters
Krishna, in his statement on the recent visit by Clinton, said: “This (the agreement) systematizes ad-hoc arrangements for individual defence procurements from the US entered into by previous governments.”
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha alleged that the government was “succumbing to the US pressure”. His colleague Sushma Swaraj pointed out that officials were also opposed to the agreement, saying that it was “restrictive and intrusive”. “We are in favour of friendship with US, but not for bullying by them,” Swaraj said.
The BJP, its allies and the Left parties walked out of both Houses of Parliament on Tuesday to protest the government’s decision.
Opposition leader L.K. Advani, who accused the government of de-linking the composite dialogue with Pakistan from terrorism originating on its territory in a joint statement made in Egypt last week, demanded constitutional amendments to ensure important pacts signed by the country should be ratified by Parliament.
A minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was “tremendous pressure from the West” on India to resume talks with Pakistan and the US administration has assured that it would put pressure on Islamabad to take some strong action against the masterminds of the the November terror attack in Mumbai.