Indian communists threaten govt over US nuclear deal

Communist allies of India's ruling Congress party warned the government not to push ahead with implementing a controversial nuclear deal with the United States.

Indian communists threaten govt over US nuclear deal
Communist allies of India's ruling Congress party warned the government not to push ahead with implementing a controversial nuclear deal with the United States.

The pact, concluded in August, has triggered a political storm at home, with both the left and the opposition saying it threatens India's sovereignty and will curb its military capability.

The agreement allows energy-hungry India to buy civilian nuclear technology while possessing nuclear weapons despite not having signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

"We are not saying scrap the nuclear deal. What we are telling the government is don't proceed," warned Prakash Karat, the head of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

"If it does, we won't be there to help this government conclude the agreement," he said, repeating a threat that his party could withdraw its support for Congress in parliament and bring down the government.

Karat was objecting to scheduled talks next week between India's atomic energy commission chief, Anil Kakodkar, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

The discussions will be aimed at going over the India-US deal and paving the way for a special agreement on inspections as a precursor to India being given access to nuclear fuel. New Delhi must conclude an agreement with the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers' Group before it can buy power plants and technology.

The deal, the cornerstone of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's foreign policy, also requires approval by the US Congress before it can be implemented.

Tensions between Congress and the communists had cooled slightly after the government announced the formation of a 15-member panel to discuss the implications of the deal.

AFP
Last Mod: 13 Eylül 2007, 16:16
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