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BJP rakes up nuclear issue

delhi Updated: Aug 01, 2008 21:00 IST

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Even as the IAEA unanimously adopted the Indo-US nuclear deal on Friday, the BJP raked up the issue, seizing the remarks by former US under-secretary of state Nicholas Burns to argue that the deal did not allow India the right to conduct nuclear tests.

"Burns said yesterday at a seminar in Brooklyn Institute, US, that the Hyde Act and the 123 Agreement are supplementary and complementary. He said that US can annul the agreement if India goes to explode the nuclear bomb again," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters.

Prasad said this is an "official confirmation" of the apprehension expressed by BJP in the past and accused the Indian government of misleading the country on the issue.

"External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukerjee said in Parliament that the Hyde Act and 123 Agreement were different. The Indian Prime Minister has claimed that there is no cap on the right to test. We demand that the government react to Burns' statement," he said.

"Burns has been visiting India for the past three years to discuss this nuclear deal on behalf of the US. So, if he makes a comment, it is a very serious observation. He knew the entire 123 agreement, being the architect of the same. And his observation confirms BJP's apprehension that the deal in its present form compromises our nuclear deterrent capacity," he alleged.

"We blame the UPA government leaders for misleading the nation on the nuclear issue," Prasad said.