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Bush visit not shrouded in secrecy: Dasmunsi

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 2: Asserting that India's interests were not being mortgaged to the US under pressure, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi today (Mar 2, 2006) told the Lok Sabha that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would come to the House to explain what had transpired in his discussion with US President George Bush.

"The Prime Minister will find time to come to the House again and explain (the outcome of discussion). You then have the right to support, reject or censure him," he told members agitating over the visit of the US President to India.

Stating that there was full transparency in the UPA Government, Mr Dasmunsi said the invitation extended to Mr Bush to come to India was no secret matter. "The Government believes in full accountability to Parliament." The Minister recalled the visit of the Foreign Minister of the then Soviet Union Andrei Gromyko to Delhi on August 1971 when he along with then Foreign Minister Swaran Singh had signed Indo-Soviet Treay. The House was then informed of the Treaty.

Refusing to divulge the details of the agreement reached between Mr Bush and Dr Singh as the House was in session, Mr Dasmunsi said the Prime Minster would do so when he comes to the House.

"I promise I will convey your sentiments to him," he assured the members.

Mr Dasmunsi maintained that India had never compromised on its national interest for reaching any understanding with any nation. "The situation in the world is changing fast which warrants that India should protect its interest in a diplomatic understanding with any nation." "The Parliament is free to read the outcome of the discussion between the Prime Minister and the US President the way it liked," he added.

Rebutting the charge from parties supporting the Government that the Congress had an ''hidden understanding'' with the BJP on the visit of Mr Bush, Mr Dasmunsi asserted that the Congress had always been second to none in fighting against communalism and colonialism.

Earlier, chaotic scenes prevailed in the House as the Left and the Samajwadi Party members vociferously demanded the House to be taken into confidence over what had been signed between Dr Singh and Mr Bush. They strongly objecting to the Prime Minister going to the airport to receive the guest, breaking all the protocol and recalled that Parliament had passed a resolution unanimously condemning the attack on Iraq by the US in which two lakh people had been killed. The resolution had also demanded withdrawal of Allied forces from Iraq.

The agitating MPs contended that the visit of Mr Bush to India was a negation of the resolution as the US forces were still in Iraq and Afghanistan and termed the invitation to Mr Bush and signing an agreement with him 'under pressure' as a 'serious and shameful matter.' Left party members Basudeb Acharia, Rupchand Pal and Mohd Salim, Samajwadi Party member Ramji Lal Suman were among those who lodged their protest at the visit along with some BSP and RJD members.


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