`Any decision should not undermine sovereignty'
HYDERABAD: The Indo-US nuclear agreement would be "rejected" if the BJP comes to power at the Centre, State party president Bandaru Dattatreya said here on Friday.
Speaking at a national seminar on "Indo-US nuclear agreement" organised by the department of history, University of Hyderabad, he said public opinion was important and any decision should not undermine the sovereignty.The deal was not the "problem" of the UPA Government alone, but related to the future generations.
The BJP viewed the nuclear issue as that of national security issue and the energy angle was a subsidiary one. Looking at atomic power as major component for future had been the country's basic strategic flaw. "As far as nuclear reactors are concerned, look to them principally for our weapons programme, not for electricity". The way out was to stop looking to the deal as the key to better Indo-US relations. Nine provisions in the Act made clear the US objective to halt, rollback and eliminate India's nuclear capabilities.
Former Chief Election Commissioner J. M. Lyngdoh, who chaired the inaugural session, questioned the need for the agreement, while pointing to the prohibitive cost of nuclear energy. There was no need to stand by the agreement if the amendments carried out by the US did not suit the country's self-respect.
Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad Seyed E.Hasnain observed that the agreement had to be looked into from economic, scientific, social, ethical and political perspectives. Was there a "hidden agenda" of the US and whether India should "plunge" for incremental gains? The benefits and pitfalls had to be debated, he said.
In the afternoon session, Siddarth Varadarajan, Associate Editor, The Hindu, and Praful Bidwai, visiting professor, Jamia Millia Islamia, outlined the problems in the deal that would affect the country's strategic interests.
They said there was an inherent deception in the argument that the country's energy needs would be fulfilled once the agreement was functional. Tracing the genesis of the agreement, Mr. Varadajan pointed out that its foundations were laid during the BJP-led NDA regime. Prof. Bidwai spoke of the nonviability of nuclear energy to meet the country's needs.
Atlury Murali, head of the department, spoke.