The US State Department’s statement on terminating the Indo-US nuclear deal, if India conducts a test has further fuelled Left’s opposition to the 123 Agreement.
The latest development does not augur well for the government, which would now have to wait for two tense days while the CPI(M)’s and CPI’s politburo and central secretariat meets on Friday and Saturday to discuss, what is turning out to be, the nuclear gauntlet for UPA.
It is likely that the Left would review their nature of support to the government and decide on providing it issue-based backing.
A senior CPI(M) leader said that India’s agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — when it happens — on India-specific safeguards would be in perpetuity.
It means that even if the US terminates the nuclear deal in the future, India would continue to be under IAEA scrutiny.
Being under IAEA scrutiny also means India’s backdoor entry to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) regime.
India has steadfastly denied signing the agreement since the time the regime evolved, the leader said, adding that though the 123 Agreement does not mention it, the Hyde Act clearly says if the deal were terminated following India’s test, the US administration would have to pursue other members of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) not to sell nuclear fuel to New Delhi.
The CPI’s criticism was more vocal. It told the government that the Indo-US nuclear deal should not be operationalised and not to take the support of the Left parties for granted. In a television interview, CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said that withdrawal of support was inevitable and a matter of time.