Congress lauds PM for progress in nuke deal

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New Delhi, Sep 29 (UNI) Upbeat over the passage of the Indo-US Nuclear deal by the US House of representatives, the Congress today said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has "altered the international playing field for India with one stroke of vision." Coming down heavily on BJP Leader L K Advani for describing Dr Singh as 'the weakest Prime Minister, AICC Spokesman Manish Tewari told mediapersons that the nuclear deal would benefit the country in a multitude of ways and all this was done by one Prime Minister (Dr Singh).

"What Dr Singh has done in three years, BJP Prime Minister A B Vajpayee could not do in six years, " he said.

"One should dispassionately take stock as to what India has achieved over the nuclear agreement, despite naysayers and prophets of doom. What India has been able to achieve is probably unparalleled and should be regarded as a milestone in independent India," he said.

Listing the benefits accruing from the Nuclear Deal, which is expected to be cleared by US senate in the next few days, Mr Tewari said the deal would help to get India recognised as a de facto nuclear weapons state. There was no moratorium on production of missile material.

He said there was de jure assurance of non-interference in India's nuclear programme. The only moratorium that was agreed to was voluntary.

In this context, Mr Tewari said the Congress kept open the country's option to conduct nucleartest right from the first one in Pokhran in 1974 to 1998. However, the Vajpayee government in 1998 declared voluntary moratorium. While speaking in the United Nations in Septeber 1998, Mr Vajpayee had given unilateral commitment that India would sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

He said the waiver secured from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) had ended the country's decades old nuclear apartheid. "India will now have access to new user technology denied to it since 1974.'' More UNI SH ARB GC1913

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