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Dr Joshi cautions Government against Waiver Authority Blll

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 30 (UNI) Former Union Minister and BJP senior leader Murli Manohar Joshi today expressed his apprehensions about the Bush Administration's "Waiver Authority Bill" (WAB) related to the Indo-US Nuclear Deal and demanded the government make public the details of the Bill.

"The Government wants to be transparent on the deal. Then why it is not sharing with the people of the country the details of the WAB," Dr Joshi asked.

Addressing a press conference, he also wanted a categorical assurance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in both Houses of Parliament that WAB would not affect in any way the country's ongoing nuclear programme.

If the US Congress passed the Bill, introduced on March 16, would it be possible for India to either reject it or approach the US to reconsider the clauses, he asked.

The former BJP President maintained that the agreement placed a cap on India's nuclear weapon capabilities thus endangering its security environment and puts its civilian programme under perpetual inspection by IAEA. Besides the deal also compromised the country's energy security.

Dr Joshi said the Government must take the people in confidence what was its response to the WAB. ''What is our Foreign Secretary doing there?'' he asked.

Specifically referring to the section 1(a) of the WAB which authorises the US President to waive certain provisions of the US Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2153) with respect to India, he said that through a ''very cleverly drafted Bill the US wants to impose qualitative and quantitative ceilings on India's nuclear deterrent capabilities and to ensure that India never emerges as a full nuclear-weapons state." Dr Joshi said while the nuclear states would remain free to conduct nuclear explosions India would be prohibited to do so.

The Bill, he said, had sought that India support international efforts to prevent the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technology.

Besides it also sought an undertaking from India to work with the United States for the conclusion of a multilateral Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty.

Once these clauses were accepted India would not be able to conduct any nuclear tests and even its nuclear programmes would get hampered, he claimed.

Under sub section (d), Dr Joshi said, India would be permanently precluded from conducting any nuclear explosive test. Any violation of this blanket ban would lead to the cessation of the fuel supply to its civilian nuclear programme, he explained.

The BJP leader said since the US President would be empowered to decide the violation, India's entire nuclear programme (civilian and military) would depend upon the determination by the US More UNI KAS/MCN RP BD1709

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