Jaswant raps UPA government on Indo-US nuke deal

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Bangalore, Sep 12 (UNI) Former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh today lashed out at the UPA Government for not coming out with any clarification on US Administration's repeated assertion regarding the 123 Agreement for the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation.

Talking to newspersons soon after his arrival here to attend the three-day BJP National Executive, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also accused the government of shirking its reponsibility in clarifying the nation on the terrorist attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul. He said the government's reaction to the attack on "Indian sovereignty" was too soft.

Maintaining that the Manmohan Singh Government was keeping the country in dark on the nuke deal, he said there were two aspects-- nuclear tests by India and the 123 agreement covered under the Hyde Act-- of the deal which needed immediate clarification from the Government.

There had been several statements by US President George W Bush clearly stating that the deal would be off if India made any further nuclear tests. But the UPA Government, particuarly Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was misleading the nation over it, he said.

"Parliament session should have been convened immediately to put straight the record. It was necessary as the Bush administration's statement had countered the PM's statement that the Hyde Act would not be applicable to India." He said the BJP had been expressing its doubt over the deal from the very beginning and still maintained that national security interests had been compromised by the UPA government for the nuke deal.

Even if the Prime Minister did not want to clarify on the nuclear issue, at least he was duty-bound to take the nation in confidence over the government's seriousness to the Taliban attack on Indian mission in Afghanistan. "It was an attack on India's sovereignty," he added.

Mr Jaswant Singh denied that the Opposition's reaction to the deal had mellowed down after the NSG waiver to India. There was much more coming from the US side even after the waiver. "The Bush statement and also the letter written to the Chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee are much more serious in nature," he asserted.

UNI KAS/MCN PK HS1334

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