New Delhi, Dec 4: Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today said that there was no pressure on India over signing an agreement with Russia on the supply of four additional nuclear reactors to India for a facility in Tamil Nadu.
Dr Singh was involved in a verbal duel with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha in the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh said: "We had the draft of the agreement ready. It has always been understood that the agreement could be operationalised only after the approval of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)."
The response came after Sinha charged that the deal for the Russian reactors was not signed during the Dr Singh's visit to Moscow last month due to the US pressure.
The BJP is opposed to the pact, saying it compromises India's nuclear weapons programme as it indirectly prevents New Delhi from conducting nuclear tests.
Sinha said that India was allowing the IAEA to keep a watch on our reactors and the government should have taken note of it earlier.
The Rajya Sabha is holding discussion on the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation deal under a rule, which does not entail voting.
Meanwhile, the US today said it continues to encourage India to move forward on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal but is respectful of its democratic process.
It also hailed the passage of the Hyde Act last year as an "outstanding" example of "bipartisan consensus" in the deeply divided US Congress.
The US believes that the nuclear deal is "good for India, good for the world and good for the United States," US Ambassador David C Mulford said at a function of the American Chamber of Commerce.
The Lok Sabha had discussed the matter on November 28 when External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had underlined the benefits of the bilateral deal.
In his speech in the Lower House, Mukherjee had said the deal was in India's favour, as it would help cut the cost of power to a good extent.
He further said that the agreement, which was paved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W Bush on July 18, 2005 during the former's visit to Washington, would also enable India to get access to the nuclear technology for civilian use, which would prove beneficial for the country in future.
Dr Singh had said that the civilian nuclear agreement would not tie the hands of the Government from conducting a nuclear test in future.
"If a necessity for carrying out a nuclear test arises in future, there is nothing in the agreement that prevents us from carrying out tests," Dr Singh had said.
Dr Singh's assurance came when the Leader of Opposition L K Advani said in his speech that the terms of the 123 agreement with the US would stop India from conducting a nuclear test in future. Advani had said the deal was "unacceptable" as it was "deeply detrimental" to the country's long-term interests.
The Indo-US nuke-deal faces an informal US deadline related to securing approval of America's Congress well before the next year presidential polls.
Three steps are required to operationalise the deal that include, safeguard agreement with the IAEA, amendment in the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group's charter and the passing of the 123-agreement by the US Congress.