The government has given its version of the implications of the Indo-US civil nuclear pact to all UPA MPs, including members of the Left parties.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi has forwarded a 12-page note that includes 17 FAQs that seek to dispel the Left’s fears and highlight benefits of the deal for India.
But CPM MP, Shamik Lahiri, rejected the government’s explanations. He wrote to Dasmunshi that the government would set a “wrong precedent" by persisting with an international treaty which is being opposed by a majority of MPs. More disturbingly, he added, the consensus that has marked foreign policy so far has virtually collapsed.
The government’s note tries to explain the issue in people-friendly terms. "There is a rising demand for energy… This (deal) will allow every one of our households to be lit. It will allow our children to study under proper lighting at home and at school. It will allow our farmers, artisans and workers to use energy as a means of production; it will contribute to industrial development and better infrastructure and more efficient power supply," it said.
It said the 123 agreement will end technology denial regimes against India, open the door for cooperation in civil nuclear energy and other countries and usher in an era of clean and cheap source of energy.
"It is not at the cost of the autonomy of our strategic nuclear programme, indigenous three stage nuclear programme and India’s research and development activities which will remain unhindered and unaffected… It does not affect India’s right to conduct nuclear tests in any manner," it assured.
For ready reference, an FAQ answers: will the pact affect India’s foreign policy, strategic programme, right to test, three stage nuclear programme and fuel supply. The answer: a big "no."