Scrap India-US civilian nuke deal: BJP
New Delhi : The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Sunday demanded the scrapping of the India-US civilian nuclear deal, saying it had drastically shifted the goalposts that had been previously agreed on.
The deal contained "humiliating conditionalities" and "seriously compromises" New Delhi's foreign policy and would cap the country's nuclear weapons programme, the BJP said in a statement after a meeting of its senior leaders here.
Saying that the deal's provisions "fly in the face of the assurances given by the prime minister to parliament from time to time", the statement said: "Obviously, the US Congress and the Bush Administration attach no importance to these assurances."
The deal, according to the BJP, "is more unequal than ever before" as "the principle of parity, on which the prime minister had placed so much emphasis, stands abandoned. Reciprocity and sequencing of the various steps, again something on which the prime minister had placed so much emphasis, have been given a go by".
"Worse, in spite of the assurances of the prime minister to parliament, the US act seriously compromises the independence of our foreign policy. (India) is being afforded this cooperation on the ground among others that its foreign policy will be 'congruent' with that of the US," the BJP maintained.
"The act passed by the US legislature leaves us in no doubt that the purpose of the deal is to impose on India, bilaterally, conditionalities which are worse than those incorporated in the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and the CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty), in perpetuity and without an exit clause," the statement added.
"The act aims at capping, rolling back and eventually eliminating India's nuclear weapons capability. There is an absolute ban on further tests - including sub-critical tests and those for peaceful purposes. This will completely stymie India's technical advancement in this vital sphere.
"By going in for agreement under this legislation, the government is binding India's future - in security as well as technical advancement," the statement said.
"The fact of the matter is that ever since July 2005, (when the nuclear deal was enunciated in Washington by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush, Washington) had "been shifting the goalposts and the government of India has not only been acquiescing in it, but adopting them as the latest benchmark", the BJP asserted.
Among the other drawbacks of the deal, the BJP said, were:
* It militates against full civil nuclear cooperation with India,
* The certification and reporting requirements continue to be rigorous,
* There is no assurance of uninterrupted fuel supplies even for our civilian reactors,
* In fact, the provision is to the contrary, India cannot reprocess the used fuel nor can it ship it back to the US unless the US Congress approves the reshipment,
* The moratorium on the production of fissile material remains a key US objective,
* India has been expressly forbidden from nuclear testing in future even of the kind permitted by the CTBT,
* The US retains the right to carry out its own end use verification in addition to IAEA inspection,
* India's nuclear weapons programme will be subject to intrusive US scrutiny through the requirement of cooperation in research with the National Nuclear Security Administration, and
* The act expects India to adhere to the obligations in international protocols like the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement, about which the prime minister had himself stated India has reservations, and obligations which India has refused to accept in the past.
Pointing out that eminent Indian nuclear scientists "have by and large opposed the deal" and its "intrusive and restrictive provisions", the BJP demanded it be scrapped "instead of accepting the humiliating conditionalities" it contained.
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, his former deputy L.K. Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, and former ministers Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie were among the BJP leaders who attended the meeting.