We won't help Govt finalise N-deal with US: Karat

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New Delhi, Sep 13: CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat today categorically stated that the Left will not help the Government finalise the Indo-US nuclear agreement, which is threatening to tear apart the more than three-year-old UPA-Left alliance at the Centre.

''We are not saying scrap the nuclear deal. What we are telling the Government is don't proceed. If it does, we won't be there to help this Government finalise the agreement,'' Mr Karat said at a Conference on 'Indo-US Nuclear Deal-- Implications for Democracy and Sovereignty'.

Supporting him, Forward Bloc General Secretary Debabrata Biswas said the Government should first ''clear the cloud'' then take the next step of negotiating the India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In a new insight into the UPA-Left relationship, Mr Karat said the draft of the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) mentioned India's strategic alliance with the US, but it was later deleted on Left's insistence.

''We were shown 5-6 drafts of the NCMP, two drafts mentioned strategic alliance with the US. This was later deleted on our insistence so that we could pursue our independent foreign policy,'' Mr Karat said.

Mr Karat said the Government's decision to go ahead with the nuclear agreement had created a political crisis, and underlying that crisis was the bypassing of Parliament. ''Why is the Government adamant on going ahead with the deal when the parties opposing it constitute a majority in Parliament,'' he asked.

The main reason, he said, was that the ''rulers of our country'' had accepted that the US would help India become a major power in the world.

''Much of the ruling establishment in the country, big business houses, media and bureaucracy think that India will become a major power in the 21st century with the help of the US.'' Hitting out at the Government, he said it did not inform the Left that it would sign a 10=year defence framework agreement with the US, nor was this mentioned in the July 2005 joint statement.

''Never has India signed such an agreement since independence,'' he said and added that it was wrong to equate it with the Indo-Soviet framework agreement.

He said military cooperation and strategic economic partnership were the focal points of the nuclear deal.

He said the Left parties endorsed the deal after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 17 last year answered ''the nine points raised by us and the five points by the scientists'', but started opposing it after the Hyde Act became part of the 123 agreement in December.

''We are telling the Government not to proceed with the next step-- that of negotiating with the IAEA. It calls for some examination. Let Parliament opine on it. So far they have not agreed. They should find a solution. Let us see.'' The CPI (M) General Secretary said underlying the agreement was the commitment to US President George W Bush.

''Why this commitment to Bush, which overrides all commitments to the people,'' he asked.

He said the Prime Minister was seeing Bush as the greatest friend of India among all American Presidents. In fact, Bush was the most hated president whose rating was less than 30 per cent, he added.

''The PM should be careful in choosing friends,'' he said.

In a sarcastic remark, he said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a friend of the US, had resigned, while another friend, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, was on his way out. Yet another, Pakistan President Pervez Musharaff, was facing problems at home.

''We don't want our PM in that category,'' he said.

UNI

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