Left has shut doors on nuke deal; Bardhan

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (UNI) Denying External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's claim that the Left parties were opposing the India-US nuclear deal on ideological grounds, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan today said their opposition was based on ''solid patriotic'' considerations.

Taking strong exception to the Hyde Act, he said it mandated that India's foreign policy should be congruent with that of the United States. This provision, he added, was ''derogatory and insulting'' to India.

If the nuclear deal with the U S was aimed only at securing India's energy needs, what prevented the government from clinching the Iran-India gas pipeline deal, he woundered while interacting with UNI journalists here.

When reminded that India toed Soviet Union's line on foreign issues after entering into a Friendship Treaty in 1971 and did not even criticise Soviet's occupation of Afghanistan in 1979, the CPI leader said India opposed the erstwhile Communist giant on several foreign issues but did not give any illustration to corroborate his claim.

However, Mr Bardhan said if India's independent stand on a foreign policy issue coincided with that of United States ''let it be.'' ''We will not oppose it''.

Reiterating that there was no meeting ground between the UPA governemnt and the Left on the nuclear issue, the CPI leader said, ''We have shut the doors on it''.

He asked what was the hurry for clinching the deal when both India and U S were in election mode.

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