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Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, July 13, 2008
The government on Saturday rejected the Left parties’ charge that the civilian nuclear deal with the United States would compromise the country's sovereignty and said it was confident of completing the process of the finalisation of the deal on time. Top government officials  National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, Atomic Energy Commission chief Anil Kakodkar and the chief negotiator with the International Atomic Energy Agency Dr RB Grover  dismissed the apprehensions on the deal as “unfounded”.

Rejecting the argument that the deal would affect the country's sovereign nuclear programme, Kakodkar said: “The strategic nuclear programme of the country is completely insulated from the current negotiations. Any decision to declare a reactor as civilian would be a completely sovereign decision.”

Asked whether the deal, if finalised, would have a bearing on the country’s status as a nuclear weapons state, the AEC chief replied: “We are a nuclear weapons state and there should be no doubt about it in anyone's mind as we are not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Here we are only talking about the civilian nuclear facilities.”