CPI(M) to await outcome of UPA-left meetings on N-deal

CPI(M) to await outcome of UPA-left meetings on N-deal

New Delhi: CPI(M) would await the outcome of the two UPA-Left committee meetings on the Indo-US nuclear deal next month before charting its future course of action, party patriach Jyoti Basu said today (30 September).

His comments came as the CPI(M) Central Committee meeting is in progress here on the issue.

Asked what would be the party’s strategy in the event of continuing deadlock on the matter, Basu said “No, no, that has not come up. Let us first see what concessions they have on offer."

He was speaking to newspersons after emerging from the ongoing central committee meeting.

Basu, also a CPI-M Politburo member, had yesterday ruled out a compromise on the issue and warned of “appropriate action" if the central dispensation went ahead with the deal.

“We cannot compromise. Let us see what the Congress does and then we shall take a decision," Basu had said.

“We will take appropriate action after watching the UPA stand on the issue at the joint meetings of the UPA-Left Committee on the nuke deal on October 5 and 14," he said.

Centre defends N-deal ahead of crucial meeting

As the Left parties tightened the noose over the UPA on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, the government strongly came out defending the accord ahead of the crucial meeting between the sides on the issue.

Strong remarks have emanated from Left quarters warning the government not to operationalise the deal without taking into consideration the findings of the Left-UPA Committee, which is scheduled to meet here on 5 October.

The two sides have, however, agreed to take note of the Committee’s findings on the matter before making any forward movement.

Major issues, ranging from the impact of the Hyde Act on the 123 agreement, fuel supply assurances, IAEA safeguards and full nuclear cooperation to the annual certification by the US President, have been raised at earlier UPA-Left meetings chaired by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Notwithstanding Left’s scathing criticism, the UPA has asserted that the outside supporters should be “confident" about government’s ability to secure India’s national interests. It also claimed that successive governments have resisted external pressures on nuclear issues.

On the Left concerns over how the Hyde Act would affect the implementation of 123 agreement by Washington, government in its response has said once the accord was approved by US Congress, only its provisions and not the US law would govern the rights and obligations of the contracting parties.

In response to the Left concerns, government also claimed it had “ensured" that it would not be placed in a situation similar to the one experienced by the Tarapur nuclear power plant when the US had stopped fuel supplies.

The Left leaders are, however, not happy with the latest response of the government, saying it was nothing new.

In fact, veteran Marxist leader Jyoti Basu said in Kolkata that he had told Mukherjee the Left cannot compromise on the nuclear deal. CPI leader D Raja has also warned that the government cannot have the Left parties on board if it wanted to clinch the deal.

The Left parties have expressed apprehension over whether India would enjoy uninterrupted nuclear fuel supply as the Hyde Act had “ignored" all fuel supply assurances made in the Separation Plan.

They also felt that the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) would have to take into account the US national law. As a fallout of the operationalisation of the nuclear deal, the Left feels India’s reprocessing right would become subject to amendment by American laws.

However, the government feels the Hyde Act was a legislation meant only to enable exemption from certain requirements of the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954. The Act was applicable to the US and not on other NSG countries, it said.

On the Left parties questioning the requirement of annual certification by US President saying its nomenclature has just been changed to assessment, government said while certification could amount to constrain nuclear cooperation, assessment was an internal exercise of US government without any operational impact on the cooperating party.

However, as per prevailing indications, differences between Left parties and the UPA over the Indo-US nuclear deal seem irreconcilable with the hard posturing by the former. CPI(M) has said it would “watch" if the government stayed the operationalisation of the deal.