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Opposition demands PM's statement on Agni III tests

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, May 18 (UNI) Displaying rare unanimity, several parties in the Rajya Sabha today expressed their concern about stopping Agni III tests under pressure from the United States and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to make a statement in Parliament taking the nation into confidence.

Raising the issue during zero hour, Mr Digvijay Singh of the JD(U) said the US had stopped Agni I when the Congress government, headed by P V Narasimha Rao, was in power and President A P J Kalam was the Chairman of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).

When the Parliamentary Sub-Committee asked Mr Rao if it was a fact that the tests were stopped, there was no answer. ''Later we were told that the US was opposed to the tests because they feared that it would have a bearing on its bases in Diego Garcia in Indian Ocean. These tests were taken by up subsequent governments but if there was any pressure from the US to stop Agni tests, for which the government has spent Rs 6000 crores, then the Prime Minister should make a statement in Parliament taking the nation into confidence.

There were several members who raised their hands indicating their willingness to associate with Mr Singh's statatement.

Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, BJP, and Mr Shahid Siddiqui, associating with Mr Singh's sentiments said the Prime Minister should make a statement and the labour of the scientists and the people's money should not be wasted to please the super power.


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