Left, BJP must rise above politics: Anand Sharma | india | Hindustan Times
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Left, BJP must rise above politics: Anand Sharma

The Left paries and BJP should rise above narrow politics in order to solve serious national issues, says External Affairs Minister Anand Sharma.

india Updated: Jul 01, 2008 08:36 IST

The Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should rise above narrow politics when it comes to dealing with critical issues of national interest like the India-US civilian nuclear deal and inflation, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said on June 30th.

"Critical issues of national interest should not be dragged into partisan politics," Sharma said in the course of an interaction with the media.

"The BJP and Left parties should rise above narrow politics when it comes to dealing with issues like the nuclear deal and inflation," he added.

The minister said it was vitally important for India to access more nuclear energy.

"In today's scenario it is vitally important for India to access nuclear energy which must be a substantial part of our energy mix. You can't afford to restrict your energy resources to fossil fuels alone."

"As of now, the nuclear energy we generate is negligible - 5,000 MW or so. We want to take it to 30,000 MW by 2025," he said while stressing the importance of the proposed civilian nuclear deal with the US.

Regarding questions raised by the Left parties, part of India's ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition, about the nuclear deal, the Congress leader said: "It is for them to answer. Congress's agenda is to end India's nuclear isolation."

Observing that India has suffered a lot from its nuclear apartheid, he said: "There has never been an issue that has been discussed in parliament with such transparency."

Going into the details of the deal, Sharma said: "The US had particular positions within their laws regarding the deal. However, an agreement was reached by both sides during the visit of the prime minister (Manmohan Singh) to the US in 2005, which calls for reciprocity from both sides."

As for the much touted 123 clause of the agreement, he said: "This is what will allow us to become a full partner with the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group) family."

Inclusion in the NSG will help India receive reactors, components for reactors and till now restricted nuclear fuel of different enrichment levels.

To a question about the current furore in India over rising inflation levels, he said: "We are comfortable when it comes to food security but when it comes to food prices, there is a cascading effect from what is happening in the global economy. Rising oil prices increase costs of operating fertilizer plants and such."

Which was why, he said, the BJP and the Left should approach these issues positively.

"My advice to the BJP and the Left is that they should be positive in approaching issues of national crisis and not resort to political opportunism," the minister said.