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?BJP will scrap N-deal if voted to power?

SENIOR BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi said here on Sunday if his party returned to power at the Centre it would scrap the Indo-US nuclear agreement.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2006 23:07 IST

SENIOR BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi said here on Sunday if his party returned to power at the Centre it would scrap the Indo-US nuclear agreement.

Talking to newsmen, Dr Joshi said the treaty would jeopardise India’s independence in carrying on research in the field of nuclear technology. He regretted that in such a highly technical and serious matter even nuclear scientists were not taken into confidence in finalising the agreement draft and the negotiations that preceded it.

He said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had pleaded procurement of nuclear energy resources for India as the basis for the treaty but the fact was that the country’s nuclear capability was being exhausted.

Joshi said there was no guarantee in the agreement that there will be perpetual supply of nuclear fuel to reactors to be supplied by the USA. They would be free to snap the fuel supply anytime under any pretext. In the circumstances, the country would be badly dependent upon America for its nuclear energy, he claimed.

Dr Joshi said after the agreement not only international agencies but America would also be able to inspect India’s nuclear plants.

They could interfere in all our nuclear research programmes and would have knowledge of even those areas in which India surpassed America like thorium technology, he added. “We would not be able to carry out nuclear explosion and would be dependent upon US for our defence also,” he said.

He said so far Indian scientists were able to manage their autonomy. The country was able to maintain its independence, thus it could go for nuclear explosion. With a lot of skill the country managed not to be bound by Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

If the agreement materialised the country would not only be bound by NPT but through the back door it would be forced to sign Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) also.

He said the Prime Minister assured that India would have a status on par with other nuclear weapon states after the agreement. But it did not seem possible.

In fact, it would have status of ‘peon or clerk’ sitting outside the board meeting of nuclear weapon states like US, France, China etc. Only Pakistan would enjoy a status on par with India. He said the BJP had demanded a discussion on the agreement in Parliament on December 19. The Prime Minister should reply vis-à-vis the apprehensions about the treaty.

Joshi mum on PM candidate
SENIOR BJP leader Dr Murli Manohar Joshi declined to comment on the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP in the next general elections.

“Please don’t explode another nuclear bomb,” was his comment in a lighter vein moments after he had spoken on the nuclear explosion when journalists persisted with the question in light of the recent statement from L K Advani.
Advani had reportedly told a TV channel that in western countries the leader of the Opposition happened to be the Prime Ministerial candidate.

When asked why Joshi’s name never did the rounds as the Prime Ministerial candidate in BJP circles, he said he would focus on the subject of nuclear treaty only. In fact, he refused to reply to any question other than those related with the treaty. A question on quota bill for educational institutions also drew a blank from him.

First Published: Dec 18, 2006 23:07 IST