NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday asked the government to end uncertainty and take a “final call” on the nuclear deal for, it had the power to take an executive decision.
Earlier, the BJP demanded the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee on the deal, followed by parliamentary approval. Now it emphasises the government’s power to decide on the deal through the Cabinet.
However, officially it continued to say, “There is no change in our stand on the nuclear deal.”
Party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a statement: “The important fact remains that whether to conclude or not to conclude the deal finally remains in the realm of the executive decision of the Government of India.” However, “in its present form, the deal seriously compromises our security concerns and strategic nuclear deterrent autonomy.”
The BJP was critical of the Left, charging it with being hostile to the United States. “They would have welcomed a worse deal with China,” Mr. Prasad said. He made it plain that his party wished “good and friendly relations with the U.S.”
The party said serious and complex foreign policy issues had become the subject of a political drama being played out in public. This, Mr. Prasad said, was not a healthy or welcome development. The publicly played out farce was hurting India’s relations with some countries.
The BJP said its opposition to the nuclear deal arose from its view that it would bar India from further nuclear tests when the country found itself in a “hostile environment” and nuclear-armed neighbours.
Privately, a senior party leader told The Hindu that U.S. Ambassador David Mulford, in his earlier interactions with Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh, said the conditions proposed in the deal in the event of a nuclear test by India were virtually impossible to implement. It would not be feasible for America to take back used nuclear reactors.
Mr. Prasad justified the BJP’s continued opposition to the deal — although on Saturday it almost seemed to urge the government to go ahead with it — despite the green signal to it from the former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra and the former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.