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'We would'nt have signed nuclear deal in present form'

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 5: Stating that his government would not have signed the nuclear deal with the US in its present form as it had an uncertain future due to ''sharp curves'' and ''dangers'' lurking along its path, former External Affaires Minister Yashwant Sinha has said the UPA government should have waited till India was given the status of a 'nuclear weapons state'.

''India should not have agreed to the nuclear deal with the kind of conditions imposed on us. The UPA government acted in haste,'' Mr Sinha told BBC's 'Aapki Baat BBC Ke Saath'.

''In my view, it was not compulsory for India to have entered into a nuclear deal, which it has presently, with the kind of conditions imposed on us. President Clinton had visited India in 2000, and now Mr Bush in 2006. Had we waited a little longer and had we shown courage, things would have been different,'' he added.

He said talks on the nuclear deal and civilian nuclear cooperation had begun when NDA was in power, but it did not yield any result because of the respective positions by both sides. ''Had we been in power, maybe we would not accepted the nuclear deal with as many conditions as the present government has done.'' Cautioning that the future of the deal was uncertain due to sharp-curves and dangers strewn all along its path due to widespread international involvement, he said, ''We should have shown more confidence in our scientists and we should have clearly told the US that we would enter into a nuclear deal with you only if we were being given the status of a nuclear weapons state, otherwise we should have been prepared to wait, till such time our condition was acceptable to them.'' Mr Sinha added ''We could have allowed our own nuclear programme to reach an important stage, which it still might reach. Had we allowed this to happen, other countries of the world, including America would have been forced to treat and recognise us as a nuclear weapons state. This would have also enabled us to stay away from the tag of being in a different category, as we have been put now due to the present deal.'' Even in the NPT, we would have been recognised as a nuclear weapons state, he said.

On the future of the Indo-US nuclear deal, the former Foreign Minister said first of all it would have to be seen whether the US Congress approves the original deal or would it press for amendments.

Secondly, it remains to be seen how the 45-nation Nuclear Supplier Group responds to it, keeping in view that already China and Australia have raised objections, though the positive thing is that Britain and France have welcomed it.

''The future path is of sharp curves and involves many dangers and the result would be known when we would have completed the path,'' he said.

As of today, it is difficult to predict the deal's future. I urge the government to tread cautiously and not get caught in difficult conditions without bargaining to the maximum possible position, Mr Yashwant Sinha said.

On his opinion on how should the government move on the deal now, Mr Sinha replied, ''From here, the Indian government should try and maintain the independent character of its nuclear programme and it is essential that the government does not bow to the pressures from either the US or the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The morale of the scientific community should be kept high and we should extract maximum bargain from the Americans.''

UNI

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