Don’t go to IAEA on nuke deal, Left tells govt

Don’t go to IAEA on nuke deal, Left tells govt

Chennai/Kolkata: The Left parties today sternly asked the government not to go to the IAEA for follow- up talks on the Indo-US nuclear deal till a proposed committee comes out with its findings as they hit the streets to oppose a multi-nation naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal also involving American warships.

“This government is a minority government. It exists only with the support of parties like us. So it should not go ahead with the agreement," CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat told a public meeting organised by the Left in Chennai ahead of a protest march to Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.

“Do not proceed with the agreement. When the agreement comes for debate in Parliament, you will find that a majority of members are against it," he warned.

“India should also not go to the IAEA to finalise the deal but wait for the committee’s decision," Karat said.

The UPA should not proceed with the deal until the proposed committee, which would study the Left’s concerns on the issue, examined the matter and took a decision, he said.

Launching an attack against the UPA for its “tilt" towards the US in its foreign policy, he said this went against the Common Minimum Programme (CMP).

The CMP did not contain a single word about a strategic alliance with the US and the Left “would not have supported the UPA if there was such a word", Karat said.

In Kolkata, CPI-M patriarch Jyoti Basu flagged off another rally to Visakhapatnam and accused the UPA of putting the country into the US fold. CPI general secretary A B Bardhan warned the government it would have to face the consequences if it ignored concerns expressed by the communists about the nuclear deal.

The government should not go ahead with the deal until Parliament discussed the implications of the Hyde Act of the US, which controlled that country’s nuclear dealings with others, Karat said.

The government may have decided a timeframe with the US administration to implement the deal but it should not go ahead according to that, he said.

If the deal is implemented, the US would begin “blackmailing" India to enforce its economic policies, he said.

The Left parties will go to the people and tell them that the government had failed to fulfil its commitment to the CMP, he said.

Karat said India’s foreign policy has always been governed by consensus and non-alignment. “But if the nuclear deal is through, it will break our foreign policy of 60 years.

“We are not against the people of America or against America as a country. We are against the imperialistic America, the most hated Bush adminstration," he said.

More US companies like WalMart would come to India and the people of the country would be deprived of their livelihood, he claimed.

The government’s stand that the deal would fulfil the country’s energy needs was not correct, Karat said. Only three per cent of the country’s energy needs are now met by nuclear power and even if the government said India would generate 20000 MW of nuclear power by 2020, this would amount to only seven per cent of the total power needs, he pointed out.

Away from the protests by the Left, warships from five nations kicked off the wargame deep in the Bay of Bengal to fine-tune strategies to cope with terrorism and piracy.

The manoeuvres will see warships from India, the US, Japan, Australia and Singapore in intense action to cope with multi-threat scenarios.