Deal from the top of the deck
After endless rou-nds of bickering in the UPA on the nuclear deal, the government’s allies have stepped in to counsel the Congress and the Left on the contentious issue.india Updated: Jun 24, 2008 21:19 IST
After endless rou-nds of bickering in the UPA on the nuclear deal, the government’s allies have stepped in to counsel the Congress and the Left on the contentious issue. Their logic is simple. At a time when people are being buffeted on all sides by increased fuel costs, rising prices of essential commodities and double-digit inflation, the allies don’t want a situation where it will forced into early elections. But the government cannot be held hostage by the Left on the nuclear issue. At best it can come to an unwritten agreement with the Left that it will not operationalise the deal after it presents the agreement to the board of governors at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Now this is not the best case scenario but at least it would be a good beginning towards resolving the issue which has been up in the air almost from inception. Whether this works out on not, the Left has unnecessarily complicated the issue by seeking to highlight Muslim anger over a possible deal with the US. Either the Left is out of touch with reality or its motives are suspect. The Muslims have so far not expressed any reservations over the deal. India’s energy situation is precarious which is why it went in for the deal in the first place. Moreover, no sovereign government can afford to renege wholly on a deal with the US if it is to be taken seriously as a global power.
Apart from screaming blue murder every time the deal is raised, it would be better if the Left were to come up with some concrete suggestions as to which parts of the deal it is willing to accept. If the government can get the IAEA’s go-ahead, the US can ask the other 44 nations of the NSG to join it in providing India the nuclear fuel, reactors and technology that have been denied to India for nearly 40 years. But much depends on how much accommodation the Left is willing to show. If it kept national interest, as opposed to partisan politics, in mind, it should meet the government halfway.