Left, BJP criticises Indo-US nuclear deal, ask govt to rethink

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New Delhi, Dec 4 (UNI) The UPA government today came under severe attack from both its ally Left Parties and the Opposition BJP over the Indo-US nuclear deal, which they said was against the national interest and would have adverse consequences for both the country's independent foreign policy and weapons programme.

Initiating the debate on the civil nuclear cooperation deal with the US in the Rajya Sabha, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the Left parties' support to the government was based on the Common Minimum Programme which has no mention of the nuclear deal, which aims to ''make India a subordinate ally of the US''.

''The government must rethink or scrap the deal,'' he asserted.

Even BJP leader Yashwant Sinha agreed with Mr Yechury and said the agreement was contrary to the assurances given by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and compromised on the independent foreign policy of the country. He said the nuclear pact was aimed at bringing India within the Nuclear Non-proliferation regime and would severely impact the country's strategic weapons programme.

The deal also ignores India's need for uninterrupted fuel supplies and advance technology, Mr Singh said.

Citing the high cost of nuclear energy, Mr Yechury said cost benefit analysis shows that nuclear energy produced by the imported reactors would be very costly than thermal and hydel power. He urged the government that instead of pursuing the ''costly option of energy supply which would benefit MNCs'', it should focus on thermal power, hydel electricity, solar and wind energy and use the money thus saved for opening more schools for children and hospitals to ensure better health care for its elderly.

The CPI(M) Polit Bureau member said the government's claim that the agreement would break India's nuclear apartheid was ''illusory'' as the text and sub-text of the 123 agreement to operationalise the deal did not substantiate it.

The agreement was aimed to make Indian foreign policy ''congruent'' to that of the US and make it a subordinate state, he added.

Mr Yechury said under pressure from the US government, India dithered from participating in the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline which could have solved the energy needs of the country. He pointed out that even the State Bank of India has refused to give Letters of Credit for business in Iran and a corporate house has backtracked from its project in Iran under pressure from the US.

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