Impasse over Indo-US nuke deal continues

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{image-indo-us n-deal_26062008.jpg}New Delhi, Jun 26: The dispute over Indo US nuclear deal between UPA and Left parties continues. The much awaited ninth Left-UPA Co-ordination Committee meet on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal ended without yielding any result. The meet which lasted for nearly one-and-a-half-hour and ended with a decision only to meet again in the "due course of time".

Union Minister for External Affaris Pranab Mukherjee who is acting as the bridge between the Congress-led UPA and the Left parties over the Indo-US nuclear deal announced on June 25 Monday evening after the meet that the next meeting of the Committee will be held in due course of time. The crisis for UPA government began when the Left threaten to withdraw the outside support for the UPA Government if it goes ahead to ink the deal with the US.

All the members of the Coordination Committee were present at the meeting except Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who is in Lords celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1983 Cricket World Cup victory along with the members of the then team.

Without mentioning dates, the UPA has offered to come back to the negotiation table once the deal cleared the IAEA and NSG hurdle, before the 123 agreement is signed with the US government - in short, before the deal is operationalised.

The Left on its part too, has handed over a draft to the government which lists out the assurances given by the UPA government and the promises ignored. Which means, the positions on both sides has hardly changed since the UPA-Left meeting of June 18(Thursday) that was abandoned for lack of common ground.

India, a declared nuclear weapons power that refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is currently barred from buying atomic energy technology. But the pact with the United States would bypass that by allowing India to get the fuel if it can separate its civil and military nuclear programs and allow some United Nations inspections.

India must also work out a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency and get a waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG).

The agreement then would return to the US Congress for ratification. New Delhi is aiming to get the deal there before US President George W Bush leaves office in January 2009.

India's Left parties on the other hand have vowed withdraw support and go for early polls if the government forges ahead with implementing the deal.

"At the moment, we oppose the deal in its present form," Communist Party of India leader Doraiswamy Raja said.

But the UPA allies like NCP, RJD and LJP are against the early polls and had asked Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to make a breakthough in the nuclear deal issue.

Congress party, which swept to power in 2004, has 153 MPs and desperately needs the backing of the Left parties to last its full five-year term in office until May 2009.

OneIndia News

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