On the eve of the eighth meeting of the UPA-Left Coordination Committee on the India-US nuclear deal, the CPM stated that it wants the government to brief the Left on the full text of the India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the government would address any matter that came up.
Addressing reporters after the Civil Investiture Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Singh said: “We will discuss whatever issue our colleagues would like to raise.”
“The UPA will brief us comprehensively on the agreement,” CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury said, adding that the Left is aware that the text cannot be revealed unless it has been discussed by the government and the IAEA. “But we don’t even know if the text has been finalised,” he added.
Yechury also said that the Left’s position on the deal remained unchanged. “The operationalisation of the deal should not proceed till the UPA-Left committee has settled all objections,” he said.
The CPM reiterated that it believes the 123 agreement is “anchored in the Hyde Act”. Yechury said: “We will consider what the government reports and then take the issue forward.”
Meanwhile, the Congress hoped the Left would have a “reasonable” attitude. AICC spokesperson Manish Tewari said: “The Left has been ideologically opposed to the nuclear deal. But the Left has allowed the government or the government has been able to persuade the Left to bring the deal to a stage whereby the draft agreement with the IAEA is in place.” He added that there were just two steps left for the conclusion of the deal.
India concluded negotiations with the IAEA on the safeguards agreement in February but could not sign it because the government agreed to take the UPA-Left committee into confidence.
The seventh meeting of the committee was held on March 17. After the meeting, the CPM’s Prakash Karat wrote to the UPA seeking clarifications on how the safeguards agreement would ensure uninterrupted fuel supply and complete transfer of technology.
With PTI inputs