Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the 123 Agreement for the Indo-US nuclear deal does not bar India from carrying out nuclear tests.
“If a necessity for carrying out a nuclear test arises in future, there is nothing in the agreement which prevents us from carrying out tests,” the PM said during a debate in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Earlier, the BJP-led opposition walked out of the House before External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee began his response to concerns raised by most of the 29 members who spoke during the six-hour debate. The opposition demanded that the PM respond to the debate and walked out when Mukherjee rose to speak, though the PM and the UPA chairperson were present in the House.
Mukherjee outlined India’s essential requirements for an India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
What would make the agreement India-specific, Mukherjee said, is an assurance of uninterrupted fuel supplies, allowance for creating a strategic reserve of nuclear fuel for atomic reactors under safeguards and recognition of India’s strategic programme based on the Separation Plan of March 2006.
Saying the agreement had been “frozen” while complex technical negotiations were on with the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Mukherjee said completing the process would take time, and his government would come back to the Parliament whenever required.