The Indo-US nuclear deal should be renegotiated, said the BJP on Wednesday, ending speculation that the party was willing to help the government push it through.
The clarification comes a week before Parliament starts its winter session and appears to put at rest rumours that surfaced after Brajesh Mishra said the deal was the best one could get and he could allow it to go through if given guarantees about protection of the country’s strategic interests. Mishra was national security adviser during the NDA regime.
After a meeting of its core group, Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani, party chief Rajnath Singh and former foreign minister Jaswant Singh said the deal should not be hustled through as it “compromises” the country’s long-term strategic programmes.
They said the BJP has “consistently stood for close Indo-US cooperation and strategic partnership as between two equal sovereigns”, but the party continues to be of the view that the UPA has made a “significant strategic blunder” by turning the deal into a kind of an icon of India's relations with the US.
The statement also noted that over the last few days former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, US Ambassador to India David Mulford, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan and Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar had met the three leaders and were apprised of the BJP's position. They made it clear that the BJP was not diluting its opposition, rejecting reports that the party may not be averse to supporting the deal, as it was not ideologically opposed to the US unlike the Left.
“We stand opposed to the deal because in our view it compromises long-term strategic programmes of India, vital for the country's security, and neither will it help meet our energy needs of future,” they said.
Prior to the core group meeting, Advani told HT: “Just because we say we do not blindly pursue anti-Americanism, does it mean that we support the deal?”