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BJP moves breach of privilege against PM

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2007 22:34 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
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The BJP gave notices for moving breach of privilege motions against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for “misleading” Parliament on the Indo-US nuclear deal, citing details of the 123 pact and the Hyde Act as well as the latest US assertion the pact would be terminated if New Delhi exploded a bomb.

Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinhau rejected External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement on the pact in the Lok Sabha.
Quoting from the provisions of the 123 pact and the Hyde Act, Sinha said, “for once, the US state department spokesperson is right in his interpretation of the deal.”

Sinha said the 123 pact had a specific provision – Article 2(1) that the deal would be implemented subject to the “national laws” of the two countries. “We do not have a national law on the deal whereas the Americans do. The relevant national laws are the US Atomic Act, 1954, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act,1978 and the Hyde Act, which is India-specific law.”

The former External Affairs Minister said the Hyde Act was clear that the deal would snap if India did even a “sub-kiloton” test. He read out portions from the US' India-specific Hyde Act, insisting that New Delhi's nuclear and strategic programmes would be impacted by the American law once the deal was operationalised.

"It will prohibit India from carrying out even (atomic) lab tests. ... It aims to cap, rollback and eliminate India's nuclear weapons programme," he said.

Sinha alleged that Singh had misled the country with his statement that the deal would have no impact on New Delhi's nuclear weapons programmes.

"It was a brazen attempt by the government to mislead the country. We have earlier described the prime minister's statement (on the nuke agreement) as a bundle of white lies. His (Mukherjee's) statement today continues with those untruths," he said.

Sinha referred to US state department spokesman Sean McCormack's remarks about the fate of the nuke pact in the event of a nuclear test by India.

"How is it that a statement by the prime minister of India is contradicted by a flunkey of the (US) State Department? We, therefore, demand a thorough discussion on the agreement in Parliament with voting," Sinha said.

Asked what the BJP expected of the Left parties, Sinha said it would be untenable for the Left to stand beside the government on the issue. "Let's see what they decide in their politburo."

Replying to a question, Sinha referred to Mukherjee's statement, saying that a voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing could never become a restraint as suggested by the minister.

Sinha said the Indian government's statement on the pact lacked transparency "unlike" the statements coming from the United States. Those who are worried that the revoking the deal would hurt the ties with the US should know that the deal would eventually hurt the relationship between the two countries.

"It will become the biggest cause for spoiling India's relations with the United States. This agreement cannot be implemented. It will remain a dead letter," Sinha added.

BJP’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha VK Malhotra said the opposition had expressed its anguish to Speaker Somnath Chatterjee for not allowing its leaders to speak while allowing Mukherjee to give a statement.