Vinay Kumar

Real problem is the Hyde Act and the bilateral 123 Agreement: CPI(M)

Says the future of UPA government depends on the decision that it takes

“Assurance of uninterrupted fuel supply is outside IAEA’s jurisdiction”

NEW DELHI: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday cautioned the government that it was “mistaken” if it thought that it could go ahead and take steps for operationalising the India-U.S. nuclear deal after arriving at an agreed text with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on a safeguards agreement.

“It will amount to a gross violation of the majority opinion in Parliament. The Left parties will take all the necessary steps to stop the government from taking such a harmful step. It is for the Congress leadership to decide whether it wants to be seen as kowtowing to the pressure of the Bush administration or acting democratically and heeding the voice of Parliament and the people. And this decision has to be a quick and clear one. The future of this government depends on the decision they will take,” the party organ People’s Democracy said.

“Unfortunate”

In a political commentary “Turning Point Has Arrived” in its latest issue, it described as “unfortunate” the statement of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in Parliament on March 3 and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s reply to the debate on the President address as all of them continued to “harp on the government’s efforts to go ahead with the nuclear deal.”

It reminded the government that the Left parties had clearly stated that the government cannot proceed with the finalisation of the IAEA safeguards agreement and take the next step to go to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) given the basic objection to the Hyde Act and the 123 Agreement.

While noting that as far as the Left parties are concerned, the problem is not the safeguards agreement with the IAEA, the commentary said: “The real problem is the Hyde Act and the bilateral 123 Agreement with the U.S. The Left parties have in the UPA-Left Committee on Nuclear Issue put up five notes which comprehensively deal with the harmful impact of the Hyde Act on the 123 Agreement, foreign policy and security-related matters.”

U.S., not IAEA, the supplier

“Even a layman can understand that the IAEA is an international regulatory authority and not a supplier of fuel or nuclear equipment. It is the U.S. which is the supplying party in the 123 Agreement. And as has been repeatedly stated by the U.S. authorities, they are bound by the provisions of the Hyde Act. They assert that the provisions of the 123 Agreement do not contravene the Hyde Act.”

The commentary said that it was not within the scope or jurisdiction of the IAEA to provide any assurance for uninterrupted fuel supply or help India build a strategic reserve.

“Neither is it within the powers of the IAEA to spell out corrective measures that can be taken by India in the event of the termination of the fuel supply by a party contracted to do so,” the commentary said.

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