BJP denies NDA initiated the 'Indo-US nuclear compromise'

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New Delhi, Mar 1 (UNI) Former External Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader, Yashwant Sinha today asserted that the NDA Government was not at all in favour of discussing the Indo-US nuclear deal in its present form as claimed by former US Under Sectreatry Strobe Talbott.

Reacting to the claim made by Mr Talbott in an interview with a television channel, Mr Sinha, who was a minister in the NDA government, said, ''I can tell it with authority that India and the US were not at all discussing any nuclear compromise like the one in its present form. The discussions were centred around the 'safety aspects' of the civilian nuclear cooperation and Mr Talbott was already out of his office by then.'' ''It is totally improper for anybody to speak about the events that had taken place after giving up the office,'' Mr Sinha told newspersons.

He said India and the US were discussing about the Next Step Strategic Parnership (NSSP) when he was in the MEA and there was no question of even considering the kind of 'nuclear compromise' that was sought to be done by Dr Manmohan Singh-led UPA Government, he said.

He said the BJP was in favour of having good relations with the US even without the nuclear deal in its present form and the NDA would also have the same approach if it assumes office after the Lok Sabha polls. He asserted that no draft agreement, now in public domain, was ever discussed. Mr Sinha also said the kind of negotiations that were taking place was reflected in the statements by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf months before the NDA demitted office.

UNI MCN DS RN1532

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