Indo-US nuke deal will undo UPA: Yashwant Sinha

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Chennai, Sep 13: The controversial Indo-US nuclear deal would undo the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the country was heading for early elections, Former External Affairs Minister and BJP Vice-President Yashwant Sinha has said.

Though the stand off between the Centre and the Left had cooled down for the time being, with the safeguards agreement with IAEA being prepared, the Left parties would have to take a definite decision soon, he said while participating in a discussion on the impact of the nuke deal organised by the Rotary Club here last night.

''In my knowledge, only some formalities are left in the safeguard agreement. In my personal opinion, we are heading for early elections,'' he said.

On the nuke deal, Mr Sinha said India had been made to pay a heavy price in the form of restricted indigenous nuclear power and weapons programmes, tagging its foreign policy with that of the United States and seperation of facilities in return for the civilian nuclear agreement with the US.

''The basic purpose of the whole deal is to cap, reduce and eliminate our nuclear weapons programme,'' he said adding that the deal puts 14 out of 22 existing reactors and all civilian reactors to be constructed in the future under IAEA inspections for perpetuity, a condition against the strategic interests of the country.

The US, on the other hand, had brought only four out of its 250 reactors under the safeguard, he claimed.

Mr Sinha said the deal came with riders that required India to have a congruent foreign policy as that of the US ''to contain, sanction and isolate Iran''. ''The Hyde Act mentions Iran in at least three places. It is not an accident that India voted thrice against Iran. The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is not progressing and our relationship with Iran is down in the drains,'' he added.

Observing that the 123 Agreement was worse than the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which India refused to sign, the former External Affairs Minister pointed out that the deal was aimed at generation of only 20,000 MW, at the rate of Rs ten crore per MW.

''Instead of spending Rs two lakh crore for the 20,000 MW nuclear power, India should utilise the potential of cheaper and less polluting options like hydel and wind power,'' he said and added that the Himalayan region had the potential of generating as much as 1.5 lakh MW of power per year, with Arunachal Pradesh alone having the potential to generate 50,000 to 60,000 MW.

The nuclear isolation after the 1974 nuclear test had resulted in the development of a three-stage programme that would eventually make the country energy-independent and strategically superior.

''India's energy independence depended on the indigenous research and development, including thorium reactors, considering the huge quantity of thorium reserves in the country'', he added.


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