Bardhan says CPI is opposed to strengthening ties with US

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Mumbai, Oct 17 (UNI) CPI leader A B Bardhan today said his party was opposed to strengthening strategic ties with the United States.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Bardhan refused to comment on whether the Centre's decision to put the nuclear deal with United States on a 'slow burner' was a victory of the Left parties. He also rejected the BJP's criticism of the Prime Minister as lameduck and weak.

''We are firmly opposed to strengthening strategic ties with the United States. The Government has not communicated to us on what they propose to do with the deal including the Prime Minister's telephonic talk with the United States President on the difficulties he is facing in going ahead with the deal. We will only know on October 22 whether the deal is past or still on,'' Mr Bardhan said.

Replying to questions, Mr Bardhan denied that the stand off over the nuclear deal amounted to loss of face for the country in the international arena.

''We are a functioning democracy. When majority of Parliament is against the deal, the government cannot go ahead with it just like that. Why should our image take a beating. The government is answerable and committed to the people of India and not the US president,''he added.

Mr Bardhan said the UPA had failed to convince the Left in the last meeting and clear their doubts and apprehensions. He said the Left opposed the suggestion of the UPA seeking permission to go ahead with discussing India specific safeguards with the IAEA as it would amount to being the first step of operationalising the deal, he added.

According to him, the Centre has now decided to go slow on the deal due to the firm stand taken by the Left and suggestions from their dominant allies like DMK, RJD and NCP that if there is no government, there is no deal. Besides, certain sections of the Congress also realised that persuing the deal headlong as if it will be salvation of India was not right. ''There is no sense in sacrificing the government for the deal'', he remarked.

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