Don't Proceed With Nuclear Deal

Monday, March 3, 2008

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The statement made by the Minister of External Affairs in the Lok Sabha, “On Foreign Policy Related Developments”, has referred to the negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency and in relation to the Indo-US Nuclear Cooperation deal.

The statement draws attention to “some statements by US officials” regarding the applicability of the Hyde Act to the Civilian Nuclear Cooperation and asserts that the Hyde Act is applicable only to the US side and India’s rights are protected in the bilateral 123 agreement.

The US official concerned is none other than the US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, who told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Panel on February 14 that:

“We will support nothing with India in the NSG that is in contradiction to the Hyde Act. It will have to be completely consistent with the obligations of the Hyde Act”.

This has been the consistent position of the United States administration regarding the applicability of the Hyde Act. It has become the practice for the Indian government to reiterate that the Hyde Act has no relevance for India and it is not applicable to us. No one else believes this to be so. Neither the Hyde Act nor the 123 agreement which has been drafted within the framework of the Hyde Act provisions meet the assurances given by the Prime Minister in his August 2006 statement to Parliament.

It is ironical that the statement to parliament says that the government will continue to “seek” a broad political consensus within the country. The government should first respect the majority opinion expressed by parliament when the 123 agreement was discussed in the Winter session of 2007. The government should acknowledge that its stand on the nuclear deal does not have the support of parliament. There is no political consensus and hence it should not proceed further with the agreement.