Furore in Indian Parliament over nuclear deal with US

Opposition lawmakers disrupted proceedings in India's Parliament Thursday alleging that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had misled them on the India-United States civilian nuclear agreement.

Furore in Indian Parliament over nuclear deal with US
Opposition lawmakers disrupted proceedings in India's Parliament Thursday alleging that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had misled them on the India-United States civilian nuclear agreement.

The protests, leading to several adjournments, followeda statement by a US official that the civil nuclear deal would be scrapped if New Delhi conducted any nuclear test.

The deal would allow the US to trade fissile materials and technology with India, ending a three-decade ban. It has to be approved by the US Congress and the Nuclear Suppliers Group before it comes into force.

India's Parliament, however, has no powers to approve or veto international agreements entered into by the government.

Members of the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the newly-formed United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), an eight-party forum, repeatedly stormed the well of both houses and raised slogans.

"Stop speaking lies. stop selling the country and save India," UNPA members chanted.

Both houses were eventually adjourned as the angry scenes continued.

"What an image you are giving to the country. You have no sense of responsibility. I am ashamed of you," Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee told the members. The house proceedings are telecast live.

Members of the left parties, who have opposed the deal, but are supporters of Singh's government, were largely silent. Their support in parliament is crucial for Singh's minority government.

Leaders of Singh's ruling United Progressive Alliance and the left acknowledge there are serious differences over the nuclear deal.

The left parties are worried that the deal would draw India deeper into a strategic relationship with the United States where the latter would be in a position to dictate terms and thus impinge on India's strategic sovereignty.

Singh has claimed that the deal would not affect India's sovereignty at all. "Its simple. We have the right to test and they (the US) have the right to withdraw," junior minister for Foreign affairs Anand Sharma was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee was scheduled to meet Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Sitaram Yechuri later in the day to further discuss the issue.

DPA
Last Mod: 16 Ağustos 2007, 19:22
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