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BJP seeks privilege motion against PM

Sinha said that “for once, the US state department spokesperson is right in his interpretation of the deal”, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Aug 17, 2007 00:45 IST
Shekhar Iyer

The BJP on Thursday gave notices for moving breach of privilege motions against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for 'misleading' Parliament on the Indo-US nuclear deal while citing details of the 123 Agreement and the Hyde Act.

The BJP also pointed out that the latest US statement that the agreement would be terminated if New Delhi tests a nuclear bomb is in stark contrast to what the PM has been saying on the issue.

Rejecting External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement on the pact in the Lok Sabha, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha quoted from the provisions of the 123 Agreement and the Hyde Act to buttress his party’s position on the issue. Sinha said that “for once, the US state department spokesperson is right in his interpretation of the deal.”

Sinha said the 123 Agreement had a specific provision — Article 2(1) that the deal would be implemented subject to the “national laws” of the two countries. “We do not have a national law on the deal whereas the Americans do. The relevant national laws are the US Atomic Energy Act, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act and the Hyde Act, which is an India-specific law.”

He said the Hyde Act was clear that the deal would snapped if India undertakes even a “sub-kiloton” test. He read out portions from the Hyde Act, insisting that New Delhi’s nuclear and strategic programmes would be impacted by the US law once the deal is operationalised. “It will prohibit India from carrying out even (atomic) lab tests... It aims to cap, rollback and eliminate India’s nuclear weapons programme,” he said.

Sinha alleged that Manmohan had misled the country saying that the deal would have no impact on nation’s nuclear weapons programmes. “It was a brazen attempt by the government to mislead the country. We have earlier described the prime minister’s statement (on the nuclear agreement) as a bundle of white lies. His (Mukherjee’s) statement on Thursday continues with those untruths,” he said.

Referring to US state department spokesman Sean McCormack’s remarks on nuclear test, Sinha asked, “How is it that a statement by the prime minister is contradicted by a flunkey of the (US) state department? We, therefore, demand a thorough discussion on the agreement in Parliament, with voting.”