Mulford free to discuss nuke issues: BJP

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New Delhi, Nov 6: The BJP today defended US Ambassador David C Mulford discussing the Indo-US nuclear treaty with the country's political leaders and said the party would do nothing that would undermine the nuclear sovereignty or undo the good efforts of the nation's nuclear scientists and researchers.

BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad told newspersons, that no one could find fault with the Ambassador holding discussions with Parliamentarians and political leaders, conveying the country's concerns to the representative of a ''friendly'' power.

The BJP is against India giving up its right to conduct further tests at a time when the situation in the country's neighbourhood is ''uncertain and hostile'', he added.

When reporters pointed out that the discussions on the issue had commenced during the NDA regime, he said debating the matter and signing the agreement were two different things. The NDA did nothing to foreclose the options of developing credible nuclear deterrence.

India declared that it would not be the first to use nuclear weapons nor would it use it against any non-nuclear weapon states. This decision had given India the status of a ''mature'' nuclear power nation, he said.

''During the talks after Pokhran II tests, the US wanted India to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) but we refused to comply,'' the spokesman noted.

This is an agreement that can take place with or without BJP's vote or concurrence but the party will convey its concerns.

''The agreement can go on or fail in spite of our stand and lot depended on the understanding between the Congress and the Left parties.'' Asked if the BJP would agree to discuss the issue in Parliament under a clause that did not entail voting, he said the NDA Parliamentary Party would decide the strategy and denied that there were differences within the party on the issue.

''The party is united on having friendly relationship with the US but it is also united against India surrendering its nuclear sovereignty and national interest,'' Mr Prasad quipped.


UNI

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