Nuke deal heat rising, Mulford meets Menon
With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh indicating he had not given up on the nuclear deal, US Ambassador to India David Mulford on Thursday met Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon to discuss the fate of the agreement.
He is understood to have conveyed the US's displeasure over uncertainty that has come to surround the crucial initiative between the two countries.
In his third meeting in four days with leaders and officials in Delhi, the US envoy is believed to have sought to know what the government is planning to do to push the deal that is being vociferiously opposed by the Left.
CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat on Thursday reiterated their stand saying the Left will not allow the deal to move forward and will continue its support to the UPA so long as it sticks to the common minimum programme.
"Our stand is not unreasonable. We have been opposing the deal right from the beginning as it is not in the interest of India."
Mulford's meeting came a day after Singh said the "process of evolving a meaningful consensus" on the deal is on. Just last week, he had said that failure of the deal would not be "the end of life" and his was "not a one-issue government".
Three days ago when US President George W Bush called up Singh in Nigeria, the Prime Minister told him that "difficulties" had arisen in operationalisation of the deal.
The BJP has charged Singh of flip-flopping after he hinted at attempts being made to salvage the deal.
"In India, the PM said failure to implement the deal is not end of life. In Nigeria, he told the US President that there are difficulties in implementing the deal. In South Africa, he spoke about evolving a meaningful consensus. We would like to know which is the real voice of the Prime Minister," said party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad.
He described Singh's remarks as a classic commentary on the "chaotic and confused state of this government".
The Congress's media department on Thursday said the deal was "alive and not even under oxygen".
"There is absolutely no uncertainty that the joint mechanism will come out with a solution. The Congress is anxious. The UPA government is anxious that the nuclear deal should be through," said M Veerappa Moily, the department chairman.