UPA-Left panel on Indo-US n-deal meet unlikely to be fruitful

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New Delhi, Jun 16 (UNI) The meeting of the UPA-Left panel on the Indo-US nuclear deal here on June 18 is not expected to provide any breakthrough with the top brass of the Congress-led coalition, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and senior Left leaders Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan sticking to their respective positions.

While Mr Singh, Ms Gandhi and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee have made a strong pitch for the nuclear pact, the Left leaders, assert, ''We cannot go by a timetable set by the Bush administration.'' The Left parties in an earlier meeting on May 6, had asked for a text of the agreed draft, reached with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

''But the government has so far not furnished any detail of the draft to us,'' Left leaders Mr Bardhan and CPI National Secretary Shamim Faizi told UNI.

As far as the draft agreed with the international agency is concerned, the Left may not find much to object, but if the draft is 123-Agreement specific, they will not agree at all.

The Left leaders said their basic objection is on the 123-Agreement and the Hyde Act. ''Any attempt to push forward the Agreement, is definitely bound to be opposed. Besides, we have made it clear that we are not bound by the US timetable,'' Mr Bardhan, veteran Communist and CPI General Secretary said.

Mr Faizi, on the other hand, remarked that the Left is really worried that everything is linked with the Nuclear Deal...the way the Prime Minister and even Ms Gandhi have linked the Deal with price rise and fuel prices ''is dubious''.

It seemed that the top brass of the Government have made some unwritten commitment to the US. ''Left is not bound by any such a commitment. We don't think that nuclear energy is the only option.

Much cleaner energy sources, like wind and solar, are available in the country,'' Mr Faizi added.

He regretted that the Government, instead of thrusting an undesirable deal on the nation, was not concentrating on these areas.

The failure to clinch the proposed 7.4 billion dollar-Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline shows that the Manmohan Singh Government is definitely under pressure from the US.

''Iran gas contributes a lot in ensuring our energy security. The Left is definitely going to raise this question in the meeting on June 18,'' the Left leaders said.

The stalemate at the UPA-Left panel meetings has been continuing with the government reiterating that nuclear energy is a must to ensure energy security and the Left insisting that even if the Deal is clinched, it will meet just 11 per cent of our energy requirements and that too in 2020.


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