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123 deal could hit India's nuclear programme: BJP

india Updated: Aug 04, 2007 10:39 IST

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday said the 123 civil nuclear agreement between India and the US could affect India's nuclear weapons programme.

BJP Vice President Yashwant Sinha, addressing reporters after an hour-long meeting at former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's residence in New Delhi, said, "We are concerned that this agreement could create hindrances and obstacles in India's nuclear weapons programme."

The former external affairs minister said, "Initially when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned from Washington in July 2005, former prime minister Vajpayee had issued a statement expressing apprehension that this deal could have adverse effects on our nuclear weapons programme."

He went on to explain, "Our concerns are different from those expressed by the Left parties and the scientists. When the prime minister was replying to the debate in parliament we had pointed out that he only addressed the concerns of the Left and some issues raised by scientists. After two years of going to and fro our concerns remain not addressed. Today again the same situation continues."

However, the BJP vice president was unwilling to pinpoint the party's specific objections to the 123 agreement. He merely said the party would issue a detailed written statement on the subject on Saturday.

The meeting was chaired by Vajpayee and attended by BJP leaders LK Advani, Jaswant Singh and Sinha. Party president Rajnath Singh and former union minister Arun Shourie were also expected to participate, but "could not make it due to prior engagements", said Sinha.