Indo-US nuclear deal is historic: Sibal

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Bangalore, Sep 19: Strongly defending the Indo-US Nuclear deal and its related 123 agreement, Union minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal today said that the visit of Atomic Commission Chief Anil Kakodkar to Vienna demonstrated UPA government's commitment to the deal.

Speaking to newsmen here today Mr Kapil, who was on nationwide campaign trail on the controversial deal emphasised that taking into consideration of the country's future energy needs the UPA government felt that it was an opportunity.

Terming it as a 'historic opportunity' the minister maintained that to sustain the 8 to 9 per cent of annual GDP growth country need to exploit the Nuclear energy option which would be extremely critical in meeting the demand supply gap of power.

Brushing aside the fears that signing of the deal would result in the country surrender its right weaponise and continue with its uranium enrichment programme, Mr Sibal stressed that UPA government had only pursued the previous NDA government's initiative on Nuclear cooperation with the US.

Coming down heavily on the Left parties that were opposing the nuclear deal, Mr Sibal stated, "Clearly, the Left's opposition on the 123 agreement is for oppositions' sake. If they have a hidden agenda, the people of this country must know it. If they are anti-America and they don't want to deal with them on that account, that also should be made clear to the people of this country. We want to work with the Left and provide a stable government till its full term. We await their response."

"By clinching nuclear deal UPA government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has not violated the mutually agreed Common Minimum Programme with Left Parties. We have not violated any coalition dharma" he claimed. Expressing confidence that Left parties would be convinced at the UPA-Left coordination committee meeting, he however ruled out possibility of seeking re-negotiations with US. "It is a solemn bilateral agreement signed between India and US and there is no question of going back from it" Mr Sibal stated.

Criticising BJP for not allowing the Parliament to function and allow discussion on the issue, he said Congress had decided to embark upon creating awareness in the country.

Without succumbing to international pressure on signing NPT, India was being allowed to enter into the club of Nuclear enabled nations. "India has not surrendered its right to go for nuclear tests while clinching the deal" he said.

Replying to questions Mr Sibal denied that the stand-off between UPA partners and Left parties on the Nuclear issue would lead to a midterm poll. "The UPA government will last for its full term" Mr Sibal added.


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