Left dismisses US deadline on nuclear deal

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New Delhi, Feb 20 (UNI) The Left parties today came down heavily on the Bush Administration for setting the May deadline for operationalising the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying Washington was indulging in ''pressure tactics and intimidation''.

Reacting to the statement of three US Senators earlier in the day asking India to send the civilian nuclear agreement to the US Congress by May for ratification or be prepared to renegotiate it with a new Administartion, the Left leaders said the government must not do anything in a hurry and respect the sense of Parliament, which was against the operationalisation of the accord.

CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said the Americans had no business to pressurise India on the issue since the deal was being debated in this country.

''We will resolve the issue according to our time table and not succumb to the dictates of the US,'' he said.

Mr Karat said the deal would be discussed threadbare at the CPI(M) Congress in Coimbatore next month.

CPI National Secretary D Raja said senior US officials like Condolezza Rice and Nicholas Burns had all along been asking India to take steps to operationalise the deal, primarily because it would benefit the US companies. ''The deal would open up the Indian market to the US nuclear companies, which we can't allow,'' he said.

''We are not a banana republic that we should succumb to pressure from any quarter. We are an upcoming sovereign political and economic power...why should we surrender to anyone's dictates,'' Mr Raja added.

UNI/KSA RR AS1820

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