'N-deal not at par with China or Japan'

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Shimla, Sep 15: Senior CPM leader and Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury today said his party was against the Indo-US nuclear deal, as it would only promote America's nuclear industry.

Talking to mediapersons here, he said by agreeing to put a cap on the nation's nuclear weapon development programme as per the agreement, the Manmohan Singh Government would only strengthen the hands of China and Pakistan.

''The UPA Government could go ahead on the 123 agreement at its own peril. We are opposing the 123 agreement on the grounds that it is not at par with the one signed with Japan or China,'' he said.

Mr Yechury said in case of any dispute, the 123 agreement with Japan provides for arbitration by a third party and the one with China would be governed by international law, whereas our agreement would come within the jurisdiction of the Hyde Act, a US legislation.

The common minimum program (CMP) agreed by the Left parties and the UPA Government never mentioned about the formation of any strategic alliance with the US, he recalled.

''The CMP only talks of pursuing an independent foreign policy, which should be followed,'' he stressed.

Mr Yechury criticised the BJP for shying away from a debate in Parliament by cstalling proceedings and not allowing other important discussions on price rise, Sachaar Committee and the pending unorganized labour bill to be tabled in the House.

''Under the constitution, where an international treaty is kept outside the purview of a vote in Parliament, seeking a Joint Parliamentary Committee on it is an hypocritical stance of the BJP,'' he said.

While agreeing that there was an increasing demand for energy, he, however, questioned the claim that the nuclear energy was the only way out.

The CPM leader said the same amount of energy could be generated at half cost by using coal and harnessing the available hydropower potential without making heavy investments in nuclear technology,especially when the fuel supplies were conditional to abiding by the American law.

Speaking about the controversial Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) affidavit filed in the Supreme Court in reference to the Ramsetu, Mr Yechury said he had supported the government's move to withdraw the document which sought to deny the existence of Lord Rama.

Clearly, the ASI had overstepped its jurisdiction by raising the issue of existence or non existence of Lord Ram, when it only needed to reply whether Ram Setu was a manmade structure or not, he added.

UNI

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