PM to attend G8 summit amid crisis on nuclear deal
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will attend the Group of Eight rich nations summit in Japan next week, a top official said Wednesday as a political impasse over a controversial nuclear accord continued.
India's left-wing parties who prop up Singh's government take the prime minister's trip as a sign that he will push ahead with the accord with Washington when he meets US President George W Bush.
The agreement would bring India into the fold of global atomic commerce, but the left-wing parties say it will draw the traditionally non-aligned country too close to Washington.
"Yes, the PM will be going to G8," Singh's special envoy Shyam Saran told CNN-IBN news network in an interview.
Tensions between the ruling Congress party and its leftist allies have been running high for months, but the likelihood of early elections towards the end of the year rather than May 2009 has increased in the past week.
The Congress party said over the weekend that it had been asked by its chief Sonia Gandhi to prepare for elections.
On Wednesday, the national security adviser met with leaders of a regional party in an effort to gain support for the accord, which Singh says is crucial for India's energy security.
The nuclear deal agreed in principle in 2005 would allow India to buy atomic power plants and technology despite not signing international non-proliferation pacts.
New Delhi still needs to negotiate an accord with the International Atomic Energy Agency to allow inspections of its atomic plants and garner a waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group before it can enter the global nuclear trade.