Left to seek firm commitment from PM on nuke deal in RS

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New Delhi, Dec 3 (UNI) The CPI(M) today lambasted the Congress-led UPA coalition for ''mortgaging'' country's independent foreign policy over Iran under pressure from the US, saying that it would seek a ''firm commitment'' from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the issue during the debate over the pact in the Rajya Sabha.

''We will ask the Prime Minister why the government is towing the US line on India-Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline project, SBI's unprecedented instructions banning an export house to open up line of credit in India and not allowing a joint venture by an Indian private company with an Iranian firm,'' party Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said.

The Upper House will take up the debate over the nuclear deal tomorrow. It was discussed by the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Though the Prime Minister was present during the debate, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee replied to the debate.

Mr Yechury added that the government was yet to address their concerns regarding uninterrupted fuel supply, the right to recycle spent fuel and the ''absence'' of reciprocity on the civil nuclear cooperation deal with the US.

The Communist leader claimed the US was pursuing a ''larger'' agenda by way of the deal with India, making it a ''subordinate'' ally in South East Asia.

''This is dangerous for our country and has far reaching consequences. The US wants India to play its role in the international arena in accordance with the former's foreign policy approach. This can be vouched by the text of the 123 Agreement, which simply anchors the Hyde Act,'' he added.

He urged Dr Singh to honour the ''12 assurances'' given to the House over the deal. The government's response, so far, on all these issues fall short of all these ''commitments''.

On the issue of energy security, Mr Yechury observed the tri-nation gas pipeline project could play an important role in addressing the growing energy demand. But we have learnt that the government was not participating in talks over the gas pipeline being held between Iran and Pakistan, he said.

''It is definitely under pressure from the US,'' he added.

On the question of lack of reciprocity on the deal, Mr Yechury said the US President could terminate the pact through clauses given under the Hyde Act, while India would be bound in perpetuity.

Replying to a specific query, the Leftist leader said ''We are not convinced by Mr Pranab Mukherjee's answer to the debate over the deal in the Lok Sabha on November 28.'' ''We want a formal commitment from the Prime Minister. We don't want just clarifications,'' he added.

He expressed the hope that the government would make its stand clear over why it was not allowing trade with Iran.

On the negotiations with the IAEA over India specific safeguards agreement, Mr Yechury said a final decision rests with the UPA-Left panel over the nuclear deal.

Clarifying that the Left did not desist from its stated position over the issue, Mr Yechury said the concessions were given only for the government to hold discussions with the IAEA.

UNI

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