Special Correspondent

Left parties disagree with UPA government’s stand

NEW DELHI: The Left parties on Monday warned the UPA government not to operationalise the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal and disagreed with the government assertion that the provisions of the controversial Hyde Act would not affect India.

At a press conference, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said the party did not agree with the government’s view and felt that the Hyde Act would severely compromise India’s independent foreign policy and sovereignty.

“We don’t agree with the government that the Hyde Act’s implications do not exist for India. ... We don’t think that the government should proceed to operationalise the deal,” Mr. Yechury said here.

Reacting to the statement of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the Lok Sabha earlier in the day, Mr. Yechury said though Hyde Act was an enabling provision, the U.S. legislature had given a waiver to President George Bush to enter into civil nuclear cooperation with India “under conditions listed in the Act.” The Polit Bureau in a statement cautioned the government that there was no “political consensus” on the nuclear deal and advised it not to proceed further with the agreement.

“It is ironical that the statement to Parliament says that the government will continue to ‘seek’ a broad political consensus within the country. The government should first respect the majority opinion expressed by Parliament when the 123 agreement was discussed in the winter session of 2007. The government should acknowledge that its stand on the nuclear deal does not have the support of Parliament. There is no political consensus and hence it should not proceed further with the agreement,” the Polit Bureau said.

Dwelling on the Hyde Act, the Polit Bureau said that “it has become a practice for the Indian government to reiterate that the Hyde Act has no relevance for India and it is not applicable to us. No one else believes this to be so. Neither the Hyde Act nor the 123 agreement which has been drafted within the framework of the Hyde Act provisions meet the assurances given by the Prime Minister in his August 2006 statement to Parliament.”

In the same vein, CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta said: “If the government proceeds in the direction of finalising the deal, we will be free to decide our own course of action and the course is known to the government.”

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