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India coalition backs PM over US nuclear deal

India coalition backs PM over US nuclear deal
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First Published: Mon, Aug 20 2007. 11 05 AM IST
Updated: Mon, Aug 20 2007. 11 05 AM IST
Reuters
New Delhi: India’s ruling coalition on 19August closed ranks behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose government risks losing the critical support of communist allies because of a landmark nuclear deal with the United States.
The communists, who are not part of the coalition but shore it up, warned the government of “serious consequences” if it pursues the US deal.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA), the coalition headed by Singh’s Congress party, said it had “full faith and confidence” in the UPA leadership and Singh.
After a meeting at the prime minister’s residence, the UPA said the alliance was confident its leadership would “be able to address all legitimate concerns, including those voiced by our left colleagues on issues of national interest”.
The four communist parties have 60 MPs in the 545-member lower house of parliament. Singh’s government could fall or be reduced to a minority if the left withdraws support.
The deal is considered historic as it aims to give India access to US nuclear fuel and equipment for the first time in three decades despite New Delhi having tested nuclear weapons and not having signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
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First Published: Mon, Aug 20 2007. 11 05 AM IST