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BJP hails Indo-US nuke deal, but fears loss of nuclear state status

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 5 (UNI) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today hailed the Indo-US nuclear deal as culmination of BJP-led NDA government's initiative for India's strategic cooperation with the US but feared that the manner in which the UPA regime conducted the agreement might result in the country losing its status of a 'nuclear state'.

The Government seemed to have "surrendered' on two counts-- the accepted separation plan for civil and military nuclear reactors will result in placing two-third of the total 22 nuclear power plants under the scrutiny of the International Atomic Energy Association(IAEA)-- ultimately restricting the availability of fissile material for weapon purposes, former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh said.

And, allowing civilian nuclear reactors under IAEA safeguards 'in perpetuity' as per the government's oft-repeated statements, how can India enjoy the status of a'nuclear state', said Mr Singh, who is presently Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.

Addressing a press conference at the BJP headqaurters here, Mr Singh however said the nuclear agreement was the result of the work done by the previous BJP-led NDA government.

''The BJP, as the initiator of this process of strategic cooperation with the US, whom the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee had termed as India's 'natural ally' is gratified by this development,'' said Mr Singh.

Terming the coming closer of India and US as a welcome development , the BJP leader said the March two Joint Statement of US President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ''is an explicit confirmation, by the UPA government, of the continuing validity of the BJP-NDA government's strategic initiaitve of deepening, broadening and strengthening relations with the US.'' Mr Singh said the entire direction of the nuclear policy and deal followed the lead taken by the BJP-led NDA government, ''the joint statement of March two reaffirms the centrality of that policy,'' he added.

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