As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh came out in strong defence of the Indo-US nuclear deal, government on Friday said that negotiations on the agreement have not been put on hold and it was free to pursue them.
A day after agreeing to set up a committee to address the Left parties' concerns on the deal, the government noted that there was nothing in UPA-Left statement that prevented it from pursuing the negotiations with IAEA or NSG to implement the agreement.
"Negotiations on the Indo-US nuclear deal are not put on hold," Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunsi told a press conference when asked whether Thursday's decision meant that the agreement has been put on hold.
He said no date has been fixed for negotiations with IAEA. "How can I say it has been put on hold?" At the same time, Dasmunsi said before the negotiations "we shall have to complete the process which we shall have to keep in mind".
The Prime Minister made a strong defence of the nuclear deal in Mumbai, saying India could not afford to "miss the bus" of nuclear renaissance.
Government sources said operationalisation of the deal means a stage when the nuclear deal is implemented on the ground and foreign fuel and technology starts arriving.
This is in contrast to the perception of the Left parties, which say that operationalisation will mean even holding of negotiations with IAEA for a safeguards agreement.