Bush pact causes Indian crisis

20 September 2007

The American ambassador to India, David Mulford, has pressed India’s special nuclear envoy, Shyam Saran, about the future of the US/Indian nuclear pact.

The controversial pact, a so-called ‘123 agreement’, paves the way for nuclear cooperation between the countries but 23 members of the US Congress sent a letter to US president George Bush after the pact was signed, warning that it may contravene US law.

The US ambassador is reported to have been seeking information about any changes in the Indian government’s position following pressure from left-wing Indian parties, which are against the pact.

The left groups previously said they would stop supporting the government if it stuck to the pact – a move that has shaken the coalition government and caused a political crisis.

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India stated that the US pact is unacceptable and continued: “The agreement should be seen in the light of the Hyde Act passed by the US Congress and in the context of the wider implications of India being bound into a strategic alliance with the US and its adverse consequences for an independent foreign policy, sovereignty and the economic interests of the people.

“The Polit Bureau is of the firm opinion that going ahead with this agreement will not serve India's interests.

“Given the widespread opposition to the agreement and the fact that a majority in parliament do not support the nuclear cooperation deal, the government should not proceed further with the agreement.

“Until all the objections are considered and the implications of the Hyde Act evaluated, the government should not take the next step with regard to negotiating a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

The Polit Bureau went on to say it will take the “dangers” of a strategic alliance with the US to the Indian people through a nationwide campaign.

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