Special Correspondent

Finds fault with projecting nuclear deal as the icon of Indo-U.S. relations

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday said the United Progressive Alliance committed a “significant strategic blunder,” presenting the nuclear deal as an “icon of India’s relations with the U.S.”

The BJP stood for “close India-U.S. cooperation and strategic partnership as between equal sovereigns,” said a joint statement issued by Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani, party president Rajnath Singh and the former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh after their meeting here. The BJP “opposes the deal” because it would “compromise long-term strategic programmes of India” without helping to meet the country’s energy needs.

The party “strongly recommends that this deal must be re-negotiated and not hustled through as the UPA government is attempting to.”

Although the government has consistently said India’s nuclear programme will remain intact, the BJP claims that the deal was designed to cap India’s strategic nuclear programme.

The BJP leaders concluded that with a destabilised Pakistan, armed with nuclear weapons, in the immediate neighbourhood, capping India’s nuclear programme or agreeing not to hold further tests would compromise the country’s security.

Leaders Arun Shourie, M.M. Joshi, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj, V.K. Malhotra, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ananth Kumar and S.S. Ahluwalia were present at the meeting.