Scientists caution Govt against going ahead with N-deal

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New Delhi, June 24 : As Congress President Sonia Gandhi tries to achieve a breakthrough in the impasse over the Indo-US Nuclear deal issue, some senior scientists today cautioned the United Progressive Alliance Government against going ahead with the deal.

The scientists said, "We are strongly of the opinion that the Government should not proceed to seek International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board approval for the current draft safeguards agreement until its implications are debated more fully within the country, or at least within the UPA-Left Committee."

Former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission P. K. Iyengar, former Head of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board A. Gopalakrishnan and former Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre A. N. Prasad in a joint statement said that the agreement should also be discussed with a group of experts who were not party to the IAEA negotiations.

They said there was a great deal of unrest within the scientific community about the rush to procure a agreement from the IAEA without giving its details to the UPA-Left Committee.

As a part of implementation of the Indo-US nuclear deal, India had concluded negotiations with IAEA on what the Safeguards Agreement would contain in February, but it could not be signed because of stiff opposition from the Left.

The Left has been opposing the deal on the grounds that the conditions laid down by the Hyde Act, a domestic US legislation, would impinge on India pursuing an independent foreign policy and make it "subservient" to US strategic interests worldwide.

The Left has objected to the 123 Agreement between the India and the US on civilian nuclear cooperation on the grounds that the Hyde Act binds it.

This latest development comes in the wake of the efforts of the UPA, which tried to break the deadlock on the Indo-US nuclear deal between the Government and the Left through dialogue on June 23.

ANI

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