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Left, Right joined at hip on nuke deal

Cong finds itself isolated as CPM joins BJP and other parties in seeking a unanimous resolution against the deal.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2006 10:04 IST

The Congress on Thursday found itself isolated in the Rajya Sabha when the CPM joined the BJP and other parties in seeking a unanimous resolution conveying the sense of the House on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The CPI, however, refused to go with the BJP on the issue.

In the House, the non-UPA parties were dissatisfied by MoS for External Affairs Anand Sharma's statement that for the government, India's security was the “supreme and sole guiding criterion” and that statements made last year and this March in Parliament were sacrosanct.

The guiding principle for India continued to be the July 18 Indo-US joint declaration on the nuclear issue, Sharma said.

Facing persistent opposition, Congress members raised a breach-of-privilege notice against leader of the opposition Jaswant Singh over his allegation of a US mole in PV Narasimha Rao's PMO. This prompted chairman BS Shekhawat to adjourn the House for 30 minutes.

Earlier, Sushma Swaraj (BJP) urged the House to agree to a unanimous resolution drawing a line for the government on the nuclear deal. Broadly supporting her stand, the CPM’s Sitaram Yechury said the resolution would not go beyond the PM’s assurances and statements in the House “even by a comma”. The House must come out with a “resolution, motion, declaration or sentiment”, he said.

The PM listened as Yechury said the goalposts set out in the July 18 agreement were being shifted - by the IAEA inspections in perpetuity - prior to the finalisation of the legislation by the US House of Representatives and the Senate.

The demand for a resolution was made when the nuclear issue figured in the context of BJP's Maya Singh's question. She asked if the US Senate Committee had passed a bill putting a ban on India from undertaking nuclear tests.

Sharma replied that the entire Indo-US nuclear deal was being carried out within the framework of the July 18 declaration and dealt only with the civil nuclear energy cooperation and not with India's military and strategic nuclear programme.

He said the separation of civilian and strategic nuclear facilities was decided upon in consultation with the country's scientists and India's strategic programme was not being "impacted or interrupted" in any manner.

India's deterrent capacity would be maintained as it was "only continuing unilateral voluntary moratorium on nuclear testing", said Sharma.