Opposition parties apprehensive over Indo-US nuke deal

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New Delhi, Sept 28 : While the ruling Congress Party is upbeat about the approval by the U.S. House of Representatives to Indo-U.S. civil nuclear agreement to end the three-decade ban on nuclear trade, opposition parties express their apprehensions on the same.

With the American House of Representatives passing the 123 Agreement by a clear majority (298-117 votes) on Saturday, the Congress Party believes that this approval is the last hurdle to the deal.

The critics of the deal argued that the deal has undermined efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and set a precedent allowing other nations to seek to buy such technology without submitting to the full range of global nonproliferation safeguards.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) leader, D Raja, one of the former Left allies who withdrew support to the Congress-led UPA Government on the nuclear issue, said that deal is in favour of the United States.

"And it will have very serious consequences for the country. We still believe, it is not in the interest of India. In fact this agreement is an effort to bail out the American economy which is in deep financial crisis," said Raja. Meanwhile, the Bharatiya JanataParty (BJP) leader, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said: "As far as we are concerned it is just a procedural step by clearance by one house of the U.S. Congress then it goes to the Senate. Once the final fine print comes, we shall make our comment."

"We are very concerned as to how far there is a cap on our strategic autonomy on the right to test. We are getting very disturbing signals about no binding commitments on assurance of fuel supply," he added.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal said that the party is awaiting the final approval.

"There is no change in the 123 agreement, therefore I think it is a wonderful step, a historic step. Now let's see and hope that the Senate passes it in these terms and then of course the formal signature will take place," said Sibal.

The agreement has drawn criticism from nonproliferation advocates because India has shunned the Nonproliferation Treaty meant to stop the spread and production of nuclear weapons as well as a companion international pact banning nuclear tests.

ANI

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