US deadline on N-deal an insult: CPI-M

The CPI-M says the reported deadline set by the US to make the India-US nuclear deal operational was an insult to Indian democracy.

india Updated: Oct 25, 2007 18:54 IST

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Thursday said the reported deadline set by the US to make the India-US nuclear deal operational was an insult to Indian democracy.

The party insisted in an editorial in its central organ People's Democracy that only the majority in parliament should decide the fate of the contentious deal.

Pointing out that the US has reportedly set an year-end deadline for New Delhi to wrap up nuclear negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the CPI-M said: "The setting of such deadlines is in itself an insult to Indian democracy.

"The democratic processes of any country cannot be influenced by external pressures and by the needs of another country," the party said.

"Left hopes ... the government will proceed by respecting the majority opinion expressed in the parliament.

"Let a majority in the parliament decide whether the deal is acceptable to India or not. This is the only way the present impasse can end," it said.

The editorial came a day after the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), with which Left leaders are planning a joint strategy against the deal, demanded that the matter should be discussed in parliament and that the government should not proceed if the majority opposes it.

The CPI-M took strong exception to US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns's reported statements that India has to move fast on the deal. The editorial argued that the Bush administration was pushing the deal for its political and monetary benefits.

"This deal is to revive the profits of an industry that is being starved of orders in the US because of a US policy to discourage nuclear power generation considering the enormous damages that may occur in the likelihood of an accident.

"In addition, US imperialism sees enormous potential in a far greater defence cooperation with India. This, according to Burns includes, 'training; exercises; we hope, defence sales of American military technology to the Indian armed forces'.

"Thus, the eagerness and over anxiety of US imperialism can be understood by such reasoning," it said.

The CPI-M also took a jibe at the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) opposition to the nuclear deal. "Having perfected the art of speaking with a forked tongue the BJP continues to remain ambiguous over its stand on the nuclear deal."

First Published: Oct 25, 2007 15:55 IST