New Delhi, Mar 6 : Left parties, which offer crucial outside support to UPA Government, have stepped up pressure by seeking an immediate meeting of the UPA-Left Committee on the US-India civil nuclear cooperation issue by March 15.
CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has written to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Government's key interlocutor with the Left on the deal, asking for the meeting. Karat and D Raja, CPI leader and a member of the Committee, reportedly discussed strategy to counter the Government's reported move to go ahead with the deal despite the Left's opposition to it.
On Wednesday, it was reported that India and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were "one step short" of finalizing the text for India-specific safeguards agreement, a key requirement to operationalise the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.
During the last few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about the Indo-US nuke-deal. Washington has emphasized the urgency of activating the deal as soon as possible. It is necessary for the government to complete the IAEA agreement by March end so that they can proceed to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) for getting a waiver to do nuclear commerce with other countries.
"The Americans have set a deadline for the Government. The Left parties will also have to set a deadline for the Government. On this context the next meeting of the UPA-Left Committee will be crucial," a senior Left leader said.
Raja said the Government should clearly indicate to the Left whether it was keen on implementing the deal without consulting the opposition.
The Left-UPA Committee has not met since November last year.
It has been agreed that the draft would be brought back to the Committee for a discussion and for approval.