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PM to make a statement on Bush visit next week

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 3 (UNI) The Government today assured the Lok Sabha that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will make a statement in the house next week on the Indo-US nuclear deal and other agreements signed yesterday.

Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Leader of the House, told the agitated members, including those of the Left, that US President George Bush was still in the country. Dr Singh would make a statement next week in the house so that the members would be able to know the details of the agreements.

''It is a normal practice for the Prime Minister to make a statement on the floor of the house when he returned after a tour abroad or a foreign dignitary left the country,'' he said, pacifying the members from the Left, BJP, Samajwadi Party and the Telugu Desam Party, who sought a statement from the Prime Minister today itself.

They alleged that the Parliament was not informed of the details of the Indo-US deal, clinched yesterday, and many other agreements, including one on agriculture, also signed yesterday. ''The Parliament should first be informed on such important matters when it is in session,'' they contended.

Raising the issue, CPI(M) Parliamentary group leader Basudeb Acharia wondered how the Indo-US nuke deal could be termed as ''historic.'' Claiming that the Indo-US deal to separate civilian and military nuclear facilties was not in the interests of India, he said that the ''statements of Mr Bush would make it abundantly clear the deal is in whose interests,'' he said.

Mr Acharia said the US President did not hide the intention behind the deal when he said that it was in their interests and that he could get it approved by the US Congress. In effect, the nuclear deal and other agreements were good for the United States and the West, he said.

On the agreement on agriculture, the CPI (M) leader said this would only help to open this sector, which has a direct bearing on 60 per cent of the population, to the multinationals.

Samajwadi Party member Shailendra Kumar took serious exception to the 'desecration' of Rajghat where the US security had let sniffer dogs take a round of the 'samadhi' of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi yesterday before the visit of Mr Bush.

''The incident tantamounts to utter disregard to the dignity of the nation,'' he said, holding aloft a copy of the newspaper which reported the incident in its front page.

His party colleague Ramji Lal Suman wondered why India had been giving so much importance to the United States despite the fact that it was not supporting its efforts to secure a membership in the UN Security Council.

Mr Rupchand Pal (CPI-M) said the people of the nation should be informed of the details of the agreements with the US as they were concerned and worried over their impact.

He said the Indo-US nuclear agreement would, for all practical purposes, bring India under the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT), which India has refused to sign.

UNI SH VD ND1327

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