It cannot depart from the ``letter and spirit'' of the Indo-U.S. agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation
New Delhi: The United States cannot unilaterally change the goalpost and depart from the ``letter and spirit'' of the Indo-U.S. agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation reached last year, former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh told PTI here on Sunday.
Mr. Singh was with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Washington when the two sides reached the path-breaking deal on July 18, 2005.
His comments come a day before India and the U.S. formally launch negotiations here on a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement amid indications from Washington that this pact could be linked to the Civil Nuclear Cooperation deal currently under debate in Congress.
A team of U.S. officials, comprising representatives of the State Department, Department of Energy and Bureau of Security and Non-Proliferation, will be here for three-day talks with their Indian counterparts from Monday to negotiate the Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation Agreement or 123 Agreement.
The negotiations are set to be as tough as those on the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement considering that suggestions have been emerging from the U.S. that India should be made to put a cap on future nuclear testing and that if it conducts a test, the cooperation with the U.S. would be nullified.
Mr. Singh said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's deposition during a Congressional hearing on April 5 showed a "shift" from the July 18 agreement.
Asked about the Volcker controversy, Mr. Singh, who had to resign from the Government last Novermber, maintained that there was nothing against him or his son Jagat. "After six months of investigations, nothing has been found."
"I am waiting for the conclusions of the Justice R.S. Pathak Authority," he said while referring to the three-month extension from May 11 given to it to complete its task.
Mr. Singh said no other country has taken note of the Volcker Committee report. Mr. Volcker himself had stated he had made changes in the report, contending otherwise United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan would have lost his job.
He did not want to be drawn on who were the "higher ups" in the Government trying to "falsely implicate him and his son."
"The truth will come out soon," he said, adding "I am 75 years old and my only objective is to clear my name."