Fight against N-deal not over: Karat | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Fight against N-deal not over: Karat

delhi Updated: Sep 07, 2008 21:45 IST

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Describing India's bid to gain the NSG waiver as "another surrender", the CPI(M) on Sunday said its fight against the Indo-US nuclear deal was not over and it would work now to see a new government in power which would terminate the 123 Agreement.

"Our political battle is here and not in Vienna or Washington. Earlier we withdrew support on this issue and we are now fighting against this ruling coalition. The struggle to rescind or reverse this deal is agreement is not over.

"After the next elections, our goal will be to see that the new government take step to terminate the 123 Agreement. ... We will work for this," CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat told reporters in New Delhi.

He said his party had told the Congress to take the people's mandate before going ahead with operationalising the deal, for which the UPA Government has "converted its voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing into a multi-lateral commitment".

India would not get any better terms from any other country supplying nuclear fuel or reactors as all of them would now align with the 123 Agreement, Karat said.

Maintaining that the NSG waiver was "neither clean nor unconditional", Karat said it reflected the "continuous concessions" that India has made on the nuclear issue.

"Starting from the joint statement of July 18, 2005, India has given in steadily to US pressure, starting with the 123 Agreement, the IAEA Safeguard and now finally the NSG."

He said all these steps to get the waiver from an organisation (NSG), set up by the US itself, were in conformity with the provisions of the Hyde Act.

Besides, the government had also entered into the Defence Framework agreement and gave commitments to the US on economic policy as quid pro quo, thereby entering into a strategic alliance with Washington, the CPI(M) leader said.

Observing that the draft waiver had undergone three revisions, he said in the final revision, India had "accepted restrictions on transfer of sensitive technology, including those for reprocessing and enrichment".

Through this, "India is now fully a party to the non- proliferation regime, which it has always held to be discriminatory and therefore unstable. Like all other nuclear weapon states, India will henceforth pay only lip service to the disarmament agenda," Karat said.

Referring to External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee's statement on Friday, he said India has now committed itself to aligning with international efforts to limit the spread of enrichment and reprocessing technologies to states who do not have them".

This, he said, was "an obvious reference to Iran and it committed India to join the US efforts to deny Iran the fuel cycle."

Even though India was not part of the 45-nation grouping, it has agreed to "an open-ended commitment" to abide by all NSG guidelines including future changes, irrespective of what these might be, the CPI(M) leader said. "But India cannot participate in NSG's decision-making process".

"It is clear that the terms of the NSG waiver afford every opportunity for any NSG country to block separate deals that India may contemplate with countries like France or Russia that offer more advantageous terms on issues like cooperation in uranium enrichment and reprocessing," he said.

Describing NSG as "an opaque body", Karat said it was not clear as to "what additional terms India might have agreed to. Given its track record for deliberate misinformation, as seen in the 123 Agreement, this is a cause for concern."

He said it was also not clear as to what were the implications of the "auxiliary measures" that countries like Austria were referring to in the NSG meet and asked whether these were additional guidelines.

"It must be kept in mind that NSG is only a nuclear cartel and unlike international agreements, can change its waiver terms unilaterally," Karat said.

Maintaining that the Hyde Act had "watered down" many of the commitments in the 2005 Manmohan Singh-George Bush statement, he said the passage of the NSG waiver on current terms was "designed to make India adhere more firmly to the terms and conditions of the Hyde Act."

He said the CPI(M) would rally all "democratic and patriotic forces" to fight back this strategic alliance with the US and the "surrender" the nuclear deal entailed. The waiver was "yet another surrender in the journey towards total surrender for operationalising the deal," he said.