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Nuclear Thread - 3
<b>Does the IAEA agreement hide us from the Hyde Act?</b>

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A close analysis of the draft India-IAEA safeguards agreement, and the restricted document GOV/1621, reveals that if it comes to the crunch, it is the provisions of the Hyde Act that will prevail. This is what is inbuilt in the agreement, the government’s spin notwithstanding.
<b>Left to launch nationwide campaign against UPA</b>

New Delhi (PTI): Determined to see the ruling UPA coalition crumbles after pulling the rug, Left parties will launch a "vigorous" nationwide campaign here from Monday against the government detailing its "unkept promises" and "obsession" with the nuclear deal.

The four Left parties -- CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc -- will explain to the people what prompted them to withdraw support to the UPA and why they oppose the nuclear deal, the bone of contention between them and the Congress.

Top Left leaders will address a meeting at Mavlankar Hall ground here where they will cite the UPA's "drawbacks and failures, including rising prices and inflation, surrendering of national interest, and unkept promises with regard to the Common Minimum Programme (CMP)".

The leaders are expected to launch a "vigorous attack" on the government for its "refusal" to take appropriate steps to tackle the "runaway" inflation and "back-breaking" price rise.

"We will explain to people the reasons for withdrawing our support. We will also explain the UPA's pro-American and anti-people policies which are resulting in price rise and other problems," CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat said.

He said the Left will rally with other democratic and secular forces "who do not want either Congress or BJP to be the only alternative".

In the course of the campaign, he said the Left will also place before the people the alternative to meet energy requirements for development and for putting an end to economic policies which are "harmful to farmers, rural poor, workers and other sections".

CPI National Secretary D Raja said the Left campaign will not centre around only on the issue of nuclear deal. "We will raise issues like inflation, price rise and mismanagement of economy among other issues," he said.

The campaign aims at removing "misconceptions" people have about Left's position on various issues, including its opposition to the deal, Raja said.

Plans are afoot to field top leaders, who will criss-cross the country, to attend public meetings and rallies organised in major towns in all states, he said adding that focus of the campaign will be on youth as the "cream of the country" needs to be educated on the "ill-effects" of the nuclear deal and other problems facing the country.

"We will have a special focus on college campuses," Forward Bloc Secretary G Deverajan said.

The leaders will explain to the people that the Government's insistence that nuclear energy is the "panacea" to the country's energy needs is "not the right picture".

"We are not against nuclear energy. But the Government proposition that it is the only way out to meet energy needs is wrong. That we will tell people," Deverajan said.

Centre in hurry to push N-deal to cover up failures: Naidu</b>

Hyderabad (PTI) BJP senior leader M. Venkaiah Naidu. on Monday alleged that to cover up its failures, the UPA government was in a hurry to push Indo-US nuclear deal which was against the interest of the nation.

"Without a comprehensive deliberation on the issue and without taking into the confidence of Left parties and opposition BJP, the UPA government led by Congress party was in hurry for the deal to cover up its failures in all fronts," Naidu told reporters here.

"It all shows immature way of handling of the UPA government the situations like external affairs," the BJP leader said.

Instead of dealing with the very alarming situation of inflation which is likely to go upto 17 per cent, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was more concern for his prestige and trying to push forward Indo-US nuclear deal, he alleged.

Terming the Indo-US deal against the interest of the people of the country, Naidu said the scientist community is divided on the issue and let us not surrender our country's sovereignty for the deal.
UPA has support of 285 MPs: Narayanaswamy</b>

Madurai (PTI): Refuting criticisms of the CPI that the Congress was indulging in horsetrading to win the trust vote, Union Minister V. Narayanaswamy on Monday claimed the UPA government has the support of 285 MPs.

A minimum of 272 is required for a simple majority in the 543-strong Lok Sabha. Narayanswamy, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, said the Congress would issue a three-line whip to its MPs to be present in Parliament on July 22 to vote in favour of the government during the trust vote.

Simlarly, the allies would also issue whip to their respective MPs to be present in Parliament, he told reporters here.

He claimed that the Janata Dal(S), Akali Dal, National Conference, some independents and small parties were supporting the government. "We expect 290 members to support the government. But it will not be less than 285 MPs who will support the Government."

He said there was no need for the government to bargain when it was confident of winning the trust vote. It was the Left which was critical of communal forces and had joined hands with BJP to oppose the Indo-US nuclear deal, he charged

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Yashwant, Shourie flay Kalam, Brajesh claim on N-deal </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi
The BJP on Monday rejected former President APJ Abdul Kalam and former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra's claim on the nuclear deal and said they did not have any new argument to support their stand.

BJP's national vice president Yashwant Sinha and Rajya Sabha member Arun Shourie - the architects of the party's campaign against the deal - said what 'great people' feel need not be always correct. "We also understand something about the deal. We can not be taken for a ride like many other learned persons," Sinha said here on Monday.

<b>Shourie revealed that Kalam called him up a few months back and wanted to have a tête-à-tête with him on the deal. "He was in favour of the deal. I enquired if he had any new argument to support his stand. I wanted to know from him what forced him to change his mind," </b>the former Union Minister said.

Shourie went on to add that Kalam was in favour of passing a domestic law to 'convince' and 'assure' people in India but he turned down the suggestion saying it would not be proper to hoodwink the countrymen.

The former Union Minister stopped short of criticising Kalam and said,<b> "Pata nahi Amar Singh aur Kalam saheb to kahan se ilham ho raha hai (we don't know from where Amar Singh and Kalam are getting divine messages). </b>Shourie, however, clarified that he was not questioning Kalam's knowledge.

<b>Yashwant Sinha said if Indian got into trouble a few decades from now, Kalam, Brajesh Mishra or many others would not be there to argue with the US or other parties involved in the deal that India should be bailed out because both had supported the deal. "Everything is on paper. Written words will hold waters and not what great people are saying today,"</b> Sinha said.

The Samajwadi Party had taken refuge in Kalam's statement that the deal was in national interest to make a turnaround and bail out the Congress-led UPA Government from a biggest political crisis it faced after coming to power. The BJP was also red faced after Brajesh Mishra, a close aide of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, supported the deal saying "it is as good as what we could have achieved".
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> <b>
BJP: it’s a mockery of Manmohan’s assurances</b>[B]
Neena Vyas
Safeguards accord doesn’t recognise India as weapons state
Yashwant Sinha
NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday said the draft safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency “has made a mockery of the assurances that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has repeatedly given to the nation [in Parliament].”

BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, in a joint statement at a press conference here, said Dr. Singh assured the Lok Sabha on July 29, 2005 that India would undertake “the same responsibilities and obligations as … the United States.” But the proposed agreement flouted this, not recognising India as a nuclear weapons state on a par with the U.S., Russia, Britain, France and China.

Though the Prime Minister had assured the House that it would be an “India-specific” agreement — less intrusive and less onerous than agreements with non-nuclear weapons states — the draft “resembled” agreements with non-nuclear weapon states, the statement said.

“With the exclusion of the first two pages that contain the preamble [of the draft IAEA agreement] and a couple of other exceptions, the text is largely modelled on IAEA safeguards agreements with non-nuclear weapon states.”

While the five nuclear weapon states accepted only voluntary, revocable inspections and had the sovereign right to terminate their agreement, the safeguards applicable to India would be “perpetual, legally irrevocable obligations which India cannot suspend or end, even if the supplier-states cut off supply of fuel and replacement parts.”

Asked why the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and the National Security Adviser in the Vajpayee government, Brajesh Mishra, expressed support for the nuclear deal and the IAEA draft proposals, Mr. Sinha said he and Mr. Shourie had also studied the relevant documents carefully. “There are different points of view. We too have some knowledge about this subject.” He said: “We cannot be taken for a ride.”

Mr. Shourie asserted that India had “enough uranium for its [current] 22 nuclear reactors” and the only difficulty was mining it.

Asked whether the country needed a deal at all if fuel supply was not a constraint, Mr. Sinha said, “We want a deal to enable India to undertake nuclear trade, [to buy] other things that we need and are currently banned [because of sanctions].”

Mr. Sinha said he did not see a problem in India renegotiating the deal afresh in the future. For, there was nothing in the international environment that suggested such negotiation would become more difficult. “How can India accept a non-nuclear weapon status when India indeed has nuclear weapons? Why accept the status of have-nots, when we rightly belong to the haves category?”

Mr. Shourie said the 123 Agreement and the IAEA draft agreement talked about a “strategic partnership” between India and the U.S., but “without any strategy. That is the problem.”

At the outset, the BJP leaders categorically said their party and its allies would vote against the trust motion to be moved on July 21. “We will vote against the government. On July 22, the government will be defeated.”
Watch out if anything mysterious happens to these two individuals who are vocal against the deal.
<b>Accord will end era of n-apartheid against India: Manmohan</b>

New Delhi (PTI): In an expression of confidence that Government will win the July 22 trust vote in Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that people understand the significance of the initiatives taken by it and "endorse them".

"The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the people of India understood the significance of the initiatives being taken by the UPA Government and endorse them," a brief note, issued by PM's media advisor after Singh's meeting with a group of editors at his residence here, said.

In his first public comments after the Left parties withdrew support to the Government, the Prime Minister dismissed allegations by the Left and the main opposition BJP that the IAEA safeguards agreement would compromise India's strategic programme.

"The agreement will in no way impinge on our strategic programme, which is entirely outside the purview of the IAEA safeguards agreement," he said.

Highlighting the opportunities for international cooperation in civil nuclear energy to meet the challenge of energy security and high technology development, Singh said the IAEA accord would enable India to cooperate in this sector with all the 45 members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

These include USA, Russia, France and China, he said adding concluding the agreements with IAEA and the NSG would end the era of nuclear apartheid against India.

Small groups maintain suspense over trust vote</b>

New Delhi (PTI): Small groups in the Lok Sabha such as the JMM, JD(S) and National Conference on Tuesday played the cards close to their chest by refusing to divulge which side they will vote for in the Lok Sabha on the confidence motion on July 22.

With a week to go for the trial of strength, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed confidence that his government would secure the vote of confidence, while Akali Dal announced its decision to vote against the government.

The JMM, a constituent of the UPA having five MPs, continued to maintain suspense over its strategy on July 22 voting, reserving the decision to be taken at its parliamentary party meeting on July 19. JMM chief Sibu Soren, who is said to be nursing a grouse for not being re-inducted into the cabinet, did not indicate to reporters today about what the party will do.

He talked about his party's support to Congress at a time when the nation was faced with a situation and that his party MPs were upset, but did not say over what. This was interpreted as a reference to his non-inclusion into the cabinet.

The Core Group of the two-member National Conference, which met in Srinagar, authorised party president Omar Abdullah to take a decision on the confidence vote. Ahead of the meeting, Abdullah said all options were open to them.

The JD(S), which has three members, will take a decision on July 18, its President H D Deve Gowda said on Tuesday, but attacked Congress and BJP for their attitude towards the party in Karnataka. One of the three members M P Veerendra Kumar has already announced that he will vote against the government.

<b>PM and not Advani changed stand on nuclear deal: BJP</b>

New Delhi (PTI): Reacting to an allegation that BJP leader L K Advani supported the Indo-US nuclear deal but his party forced him to change his stand, the BJP said on Tuesday that it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who had changed his position often over the years.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has changed his stand. He criticised the NDA government in 1998 in Parliament -- when he was leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha -- for Pokharan II," senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) had earlier claimed at a news conference that Advani was in favour of the nuclear deal but could not convince his party to support it. The PM had held a meeting with BJP leaders in December 2007 to discuss the deal. The meeting was attended by BJP veterans A B Vajpayee, Advani and former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra, among others.

"The PM actually wrote a letter to Vajpayeeji after that meeting, in which he said that what we did at that time (Pokharan II) was right," Naidu said.

Naidu gave other instances when Singh had changed his stand. "He had said in an interview to a newspaper that if the Left parties were against the deal, so be it. Later he said in a conclave organised by another newspaper that this (UPA) was not a one-issue government. One issue is not the end of life," Naidu quoted the PM as saying.

Naidu maintained that the BJP had a uniform stand on the nuclear deal. "We are all for strategic ties with the US. But we are opposed to the nuclear deal in its present form," he said.

In House, he used to threaten "I'll resign", but now has second thoughts

In House, he used to threaten 'I'll resign', but now has second thoughts

Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee always dangled the threat of resignation while conducting the House, but when the CPI(M) wanted him to take that call, the veteran Marxist seemed to be in no mood to oblige.

<b>Somnath's meeting with Jyoti Basu on Sunday was widely politicised with near unanimity in reports that Basu had asked him to toe the party line, an euphemism to suggest he should put in his papers.</b> The report was not denied either by the party or Basu. In the last few days, senior Left leaders like Prakash Karat, AB Bardhan and Sitaram Yechury also said the Speaker should decide on this issue considering all the circumstances. The emphasis on circumstances was widely interpreted as a veiled hint that he should better leave the "office" and sit on the opposition bench against the Government.

But Somnath has given no hint that he was just yet ready to heed to the "party's line." In fact, he seemed even unhappy that the CPI(M) had listed him among the party MPs whose names were submitted to President Pratibha Patil while withdrawing support to the Government.

<b>"No, I was not consulted. I came to know after (it was presented to the President)," he told a Kolkata daily after his meeting with Basu.</b>

Chatterjee rubbed in his non-partisan status by telling the daily he was "unanimously" chosen the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha.

"I was not nominated by my party. Some of my predecessors had won uncontested after filing nomination. But my election was unanimous from the beginning as all camps had accepted me. There was no such record earlier. And in the last four-and-a-half years, nobody accused me of taking sides," he said.

<b>With Somnath seemed reluctance to leave the 'chair',</b> CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat issued a fresh statement on Monday in which he said he has already stated that any decision will be taken by the Speaker himself. "This has been reiterated by the Speaker through a statement by his office on July 10, 2008," he said in the release.

Interestingly, Karat called the Speaker as "Comrade" Somanth Chatterjee and referred to a lot of speculation in the media regarding his position. "We do not want the office of the Speaker being dragged into any unnecessary controversy," Karat said.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) leader from West Bengal Subhas Chakrabarty, considered a protege of Basu, said the post of Speaker has its sanctity and is above politics.

"Chatterjee was elected unanimously by members of all parties and his case should not be viewed as a CPI(M) party affair," he said.

So its everyone for themselves! Very good precedent this govt is setting. We have corporate wars being settled by horse trading. Now Speaker wants to hang on. If he want from Left no one would have considered him a candidate for the post. I hear jailhouse dons are waxing eloquent about the deal and bringing tears to inmates!
Meanwhile op-ed in Pioneer

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->We need nuclear tests

Venkata Vemuri

When will India stand up for its own rights? The ongoing debate on the India-US nuclear deal skirts long-term issues linked to India's nuclear deterrence. It's facetious to describe the deal, as it exists, as good for India -- it is exactly the opposite

The level of political debate in India on the nuclear deal with the US is as abysmal as the surreptitious attempt by the Indian bureaucracy to push it through on the ground that it is a matter of 'national pride'. Neither the Left, nor the Opposition, and certainly not the Manmohan Singh Government, has taken the people of India into confidence on the real issues that are of concern.

These issues are crucial for India's long-term foreign and nuclear policies. We should be more concerned with India's strategic role vis-à-vis a futuristic -- but possible -- stand-off between China and the US, rather than the short-term gains in terms of nuclear energy or the one-upmanship game with Pakistan. India is already capable of tackling the last two.

Let us proceed step by step. What did we achieve after the 1998 nuclear tests? It is an unspoken truth that the tests failed to validate some of India's warhead designs. Couple this with the fact that India is yet to possess comprehensive missile technology which can deliver warheads up to China, not merely Pakistan. Only when we have such a combination can we be confident that India has a credible nuclear deterrent. How do we reach that stage? By conducting more nuclear tests while continuing to make progress with the missile systems.

Is India in a position to conduct more nuclear tests? India has offered a voluntary moratorium on further nuclear testing. If the nuclear deal comes through, the moratorium will no longer be voluntary, but legally binding on us. The proposed amendment to the US law that will make the nuclear deal official is that the American President will, from time to time, certify that India has not tested a nuclear device. Which means, if India conducts a test in the future, the deal becomes void.

So, without a nuclear test, any thought of becoming a nuclear power or having a credible nuclear deterrent is a pipe dream.

Then comes the issue related to availability of fissionable material for nuclear weaponisation. India has agreed, under the draft agreement of the deal, to identify and separate civil and military nuclear programmes. India has also agreed to place the civil facilities under IAEA safeguards.

There are two issues here. First, the deal will not overnight give India the status of a nuclear weapons state. Far from it. It will be recognised as a non-nuclear weapons state which is not a signatory to the NPT. To that extent, India will be better off than Pakistan. That is not what India will be satisfied with, but has no option but to accept it.

Second, once the civil facilities are under IAEA safeguards, there will be restrictions on the fissionable material for use in India's military facilities. India's nuclear doctrine depends on the availability of this material. For, the number of nuclear warheads India wishes to have to achieve the critical state of deterrence is determined by, first of all, India's threat perception and next, the material available for weaponisation.

According to India's nuclear doctrine as it stands today, the limit of critical deterrence depends on its threat perception. Which means India can increase its nuclear stockpile if the threat perception increases. Such a doctrine allows India the advantage of not having to tie itself to a certain number of warheads. However, the IAEA safeguards will mean, at least theoretically, a weakened deterrence if India's adversaries increase their stockpiles. For, in such a situation, increasing India's own stockpile will depend on how much un-safeguarded material is available to it.

According to an AP report on the draft of the safeguards agreement, a "key clause appears to call into question the effectiveness of any IAEA effort to ensure India's civilian nuclear activities do not aid its military's atomic weapons programme". The draft agreement in the preamble talks of India taking "corrective measures" to ensure uninterrupted operation of its civil nuclear reactors in the event of disruption of supplies. Possibly the only 'corrective measure' is India withdrawing some of the safeguarded civil facilities from the IAEA list so that the fissionable material can be used for military purposes.

Having said that, the safeguards issue is not as serious as the moratorium on testing. It is well known that India has the capability to develop its own nuclear plants. Moreover, despite the agreement it will remain India's right to classify future nuclear plants as civil or military, thus giving the country an escape valve.

What the entire debate on the deal boils down to, is this: Does India feel it requires a credible nuclear deterrent against China? If so, it has to clearly state its position before the current form of the deal is signed. Otherwise, its dream of having a credible deterrent and being a major nuclear power is washed out.

Yes, India needs a nuclear deterrent against China insofar as its future geo-political stakes are concerned. Then why is the UPA Government shying away from stating this to the US? One point that goes in India's favour -- and a very vital one at that -- is that the US cannot face a standoff with China without the support of India. For facing China, both need each other. It is also true that the US excursions into Asia have a black and bleak record of failure. Vietnam, for example. In the future, any standoff with China can only be on the issue of Taiwan. And the odds of the US going it alone, without India's aid, are high.

Let us just assume that the current deal actually goes through. Theoretically it is possible that the US itself may go in for nuclear testing in the future, thus allowing India to do so too. How is that possible? The current deal has a clause which says that India will assume responsibilities and reap the same benefits as accruing to states with advanced nuclear technology like the US. The flip side, however, is what if the US does not undertake tests in future? It is a big if.

The nuclear deal by itself does not much harm Indian interests as long as India retains the right to conduct nuclear tests in the future. Indian bureaucrats, like the messy mice that they are, are already indulging in vacuous arguments that India's moratorium on tests is unilateral and, therefore, what is a unilateral proposition cannot be bound by an agreement. The why not get this included in the piece of paper?

India is at present in a political turmoil over the deal. It may all come to a naught if the deal is not passed in the current session of the US Congress. The basic legal paper of the deal, called the Hyde Act, 2006, has a provision that the final agreement between the US and India can be taken up by the Congress for passage only if the Congress is in a continuous session for 30 days. There is a recess of the Congress in August, which leaves less than 40 days before the Congress adjourns on September 26, 2008.

The 123 Agreement cannot come for passage until the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group okay the deal. How long will that take? It may come up for passage by IAEA in the coming three weeks, but indications are that the NSG may not convene on the issue till September. If so, there is no option but to wait for the post-Bush Administration to assume office. What have the Democrats in mind about the deal?

More importantly, when will India stand up for its own rights? That is the prime issue. What is happening in India right now has so far nothing to do with this serious debate.

-- The writer, a senior journalist, is doing his PhD at Bournemouth University, UK.

Undue haste

The articles “Does the IAEA agreement hide us from the Hyde Act?” (July 14) and “Judge the nuclear deal on facts, not convictions” (July 15) have raised vital questions on the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, which the UPA government is duty-bound to answer without obfuscation. History will never forgive the current architects of the deal if they rush headlong into it in utter disregard to the pitfalls pointed out by the two authors.

R. Subramanian,

The article by Ashok Parthasarathi (July 15) is a must-read for the MPs who will participate in the trust vote in Parliament next week. The vague jargon on dispute settlement gives elbow room to the U.S. to twist the arm of future Indian governments. That Japan spent two years to negotiate to get an arbitration clause incorporated in its agreement with the U.S. speaks volumes about the undue haste the UPA government has shown to clinch the nuclear deal.

Syed Sultan Mohiddin,


It is not clear why the UPA government is particular about pushing the nuclear deal through even at the risk of its life. Why should it run from pillar to post to get the support of MPs when the going was smooth for four long years with the Left parties providing outside support? The U.S. is not a reputed partner. Its offers always come with strings attached. Signing the nuclear deal will certainly mark India’s departure from its path of non-alignment.

J. Eden Alexander,

The UPA government has said history will not forgive its leaders if they do not clinch the nuclear deal. Neither will history forgive them if they do not take definite steps to control the raging inflation with a former Finance Minister as Prime Minister. There are many pressing issues that need to be sorted out. The government should tackle them first. History will then praise the UPA for its governance.

R. Ranjith,


As there is more in the nuclear deal than meets the eye, the government should avoid haste, have a fresh look at the matter, take the advice of some more experts and go by it. National interest should have precedence over personal pride.

K.D. Viswanaathan,


If, despite all its shortcomings, we are going ahead with the nuclear deal, something is rotten in the state of Denmark. The government should stop all further proceedings and initiate a debate in Parliament on the issue, disclosing the facts to the people.

C. Sunish,

It was because the Congress did not have a majority in Parliament that the Left parties supported its government from outside. When the government did not give in to their line on the nuclear deal, they withdrew support. But their decision to go along with the BJP and vote to bring down the government is not in the interest of the country. They should explore ways of stopping the nuclear deal from materialising without harming the government. Inflation is playing havoc and it needs all the attention.

M. Govindarajulu,


<img src='http://bp3.blogger.com/_wh8W04dGH_8/SHelkbeZdNI/AAAAAAAAAjA/fCLsp5E1o8U/s1600-h/120708.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
<b>Disciplinary action likely against Somnath even if he resigns</b>

Wed, Jul 16 03:39 AM

The drama in the CPI(M) over Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee's resignation has turned into a full fledged personality clash between the latter and party general secretary Prakash Karat.

Party circles on Tuesday maintained that the party leadership is now determined to take disciplinary action against Chatterjee even in the eventuality that he finally resigns from his post before the vote of confidence. Taking a serious note of the continuing controversy that has become a source of acute embarrassment for the CPI(M), the party politburo is believed to have taken umbrage to a letter that the LS Speaker has written to Karat, in which he has reportedly said that he will neither quit nor vote with the BJP against the UPA government.

Confirming that the CPI(M) leadership had received such a letter from the Speaker a senior party functionary said: ''Yes, we have got a letter. But since it is an organisational issue, we will not reveal it.'' The leader, apparently annoyed, also said that the central committee of the party will discuss the issue in its meeting on July 19.

Party circles on Tuesday conceded that the adamant stance of Chatterjee, one of the seniormost leaders in the party, was testing the leadership who did not seem too sure of how to deal with the situation. A member of the central committee since 1998, Chatterjee never attended party meetings or other organisational programmes since 2004. His supporters, therefore, argue that Chatterjee questioning party's stand on the matter cannot be treated as an organisational issue. On the other hand, others have pointed to Chatterjee's ''double standards.'' ''He says both that he is above politics and he can't vote against the UPA,'' a senior leader added.

Chatterjee, in the letter sent to Karat, had reportedly said that he will not vote with the BJP against the Manmohan Singh government. He added in the letter that he is not against the party's ideology or the leadership.

In the meantime, leaders of the CPI(M) in West Bengal started the efforts to defuse the crisis. West Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacherjee and politburo member Nirupam Sen met party veteran Jyoti Basu at his residence. This is for the second time that the senior leaders meeting Basu on the issue. Basu had told Chatterjee to toe the party line and put in his papers. The CPI(M) central leadership has also reportedly sought Basu's fresh intervention in the issue.

Meanwhile, SP general secretary Amar Singh paid a visit to Chatterjee's official residence here and requested him to continue in the post. The Congress leadership also wants Chatterjee to be in the chair in the trust vote as it means a reduction in the numbers of those voting against the UPA government.

<b>BJP lampoons Manmohan Singh on proposed IAEA India-specific safeguards</b>

Mon, Jul 14 09:05 PM

New Delhi, July 14 (ANI): Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders on Monday lampooned both the UPA Government and the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on their continued defence of the draft text of the India-specific safeguards agreement, that if approved, will facilitate operationalisation of the US-India civil nuclear cooperation deal.

Addressing a news conference in the capital this afternoon, Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha categorically charged Dr. Singh with not having kept his promise to inform Parliament about the next steps in the deal, and of not evolving a consensus on what in political circles is being seen as a very vexed issue.

"The Indian Prime Minister has not kept his word and has flouted his own assurances to parliament vis-a-vis India-specific safeguards with the IAEA," they said, adding that their worst apprehensions have been confirmed.

They warned that national consensus on the issue was being sacrificed.

They said that the BJP has taken strong exception to the fact that a document that has serious long-term implications for India, and which has been made available to the governments and peoples of other countries, indeed, to the entire world through the Internet, was kept hidden from the political parties and people in India.

They also said that the draft Safeguards Agreement has made a mockery of the assurances that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had repeatedly given to the nation.

Recalling what Dr. Singh had said in the Lok Sabha on July 29, 2005, they said the Prime Minister had flouted the Agreement, when he said: "We shall undertake the same responsibilities and obligations as ... the US"; "we expect the same rights and benefits" as the US; and "India will never accept discrimination".

This assurance has been flouted, and now does not recognize India as a Nuclear Weapons State (NWS) on par with the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China.

The PM had assured that the Agreement would be "India-specific" - that is less onerous and intrusive than the Agreements with the Non-NWS. He had assured Parliament on August 17, 2006, that, "As a country with nuclear weapons, there is no question of India agreeing to a safeguards agreement or an Additional Protocol applicable to non-nuclear-weapons states of the NPT".

Far from it being an India-specific agreement, the accord resembles IAEA agreements with non-nuclear-weapons states. With the exclusion of the first two pages that contain the preamble, and a couple of other exceptions, the text is largely modelled on IAEA safeguards agreements with non-nuclear-weapons state. As sought by the United States, the text of the India-IAEA accord has been drawn from the strengthened INFCIRC-66/Rev.2 (16 September 1968) model for NNWS.

They also said that while five established nuclear powers have offered only 11 facilities in total less than one percent of their total facilities for IAEA safeguards, India has agreed to 35 of its facilities under inspection, which also includes research facilities.

They said these facilities include 14 power reactors; three heavy-water plants at Thal-Vaishet, Hazira and Tuticorin; six installations at the Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad; the PREFRE reprocessing plant at Tarapur; and nine research facilities, such as the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology and Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. In addition, the Prime Minister has agreed to shut down by 2010 the Cirus research reactor, which is one of the two research reactors in India producing weapons-grade plutonium.

-There is no assurance of uninterrupted fuel supply.

- IAEA can conduct special inspections on the reactors.

- 'Corrective measures' in the draft agreement event of disruption of fuelupply are vague.

The BJP leaders also attacked the Samajwadi Party for using former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's name for giving credence to the nuclear deal.

They warned that the India-IAEA safeguards accord comes with perpetual, legally irrevocable obligations, which India cannot suspend or end, even if the supplier-states cut off supply of fuel and replacement parts.

The IAEA inspections in India will not be nominal but stringent and invasive, of the type applicable to non-nuclear-weapons states, they added.

They concluded by saying that the leadership of the Congress party and the Government was assisting the US in realizing its most important foreign policy objective vis-a-vis India in a manner that has undermined India's strategic autonomy while promising illusory energy security. (ANI)

<b>UPA sure to win confidence vote: Paswan</b>

Wed, Jul 16 12:06 PM

Patna, July 16 (IANS) Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader and central minister Ramvilas Paswan has given a vote of confidence to the Congress-led government saying it was sure to win the trust motion in parliament and that the India-US nuclear deal was 'essential for development'.

After Railway Minister Lalu Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) verbalised his confidence that the Manmohan Singh government would survive the trust vote next week, Paswan has been doing the same in public functions in Bihar.

Paswan, a key member of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) with four MPs in the Lok Sabha, said the UPA would win the confidence vote as it has the support of 'old and new allies'.

The steel, chemical and fertilisers minister, who has been addressing gatherings in Jehanabad, Bhojpur and Patna districts over the last two days, said: 'The nuclear deal agreement is essential for the development of the country. All those opposing it are not interested in the country's development.'
Without naming the Left parties, which withdrew support to the UPA, or the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Paswan said: 'It is baseless that India will become a slave of America after the nuclear deal.'
He said it would pave the way for electricity in every household across the country, similar to the cell phone revolution.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) general secretary Tariq Anwar echoed Paswan.

Expressing confidence that the UPA would pull through July 22, he said new allies like the Samajwadi Party and other smaller parties would fill the gap caused by the Left withdrawal.

'The nuclear deal has got the support of a majority of people in the country,' said Anwar, whose party has 11 MPs in the Lok Sabha.

<b>As government battles to survive, friends and foes switch sides</b>

Wed, Jul 16 12:07 PM

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) Long-time friends are turning foes and once bitter enemies find themselves on the same side as the Congress-led government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh prepares to survive a determined opposition bid to dislodge it over the India-US nuclear deal.

With barely a week left for the July 22 trust vote in the 545-seat Lok Sabha, both the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the disparate opposition are locked in a numbers game that will determine whether or not Manmohan Singh remains the prime minister.

Every day, indeed every hour, party managers armed with names of MPs and calculators are busy tabulating if they can reach up to 272 - the magic number in the Lok Sabha needed to govern the world's largest democracy.

The Congress, which heads the multi-party UPA, says it is confident of retaining power despite losing the support last week of 59 MPs from four Left parties that sustained the government for over four years. But the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says it is equally confident that the government will fall July 22.

The rapid developments over the past week have left even seasoned politicians dazed as the bizarre kaleidoscope called Indian politics has taken colours and shapes never seen before.

After four years of hesitant romance, the Left has ditched the Congress. But most long-standing allies of the Left, which is led by 'big brother' Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), have refused to sail with it although they are careful not to offend it.

The Samajwadi Party, which for years counted the Left as an ideological ally, is suddenly seeing virtues in the Congress. But only in 1999, it single-handedly prevented Congress president Sonia Gandhi from becoming prime minister after a similar parliament trust vote.

Stung by the Samajwadi Party's U-turn - the party had taken part in mass protests against US President George W. Bush and the nuclear deal not long ago - the Marxists have befriended Uttar Pradesh's ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the unforgiving foe of the Samajwadi Party.

The BJP has decided to vote against the nuclear deal, a decision that has put it on the side of the CPI-M, a party it has always loved to hate. There is no doubt that both the parties are more than embarrassed - and the Congress is using their common agenda to run them down.

The Akali Dal, although with the BJP, is reportedly toying with the idea of backing Manmohan Singh because he is India's first Sikh prime minister. The government is also reportedly wooing the Shiv Sena, which too is in the BJP camp, with help from an industrial house. Officially, the Akalis and the Shiv Sena have denied the reports.

At least one party, the MDMK, has split. Its leader Vaiko called for a vote against the nuclear deal. Two of his three other MPs promptly defied him.

The BJP says the Congress-led UPA has only 250 MPs on its side. The UPA says it has at least 276. Some political analysts feel it will be 'a 50:50 affair' - so close will be the outcome. One Congress source told IANS: 'We will win but it won't be as easy as we thought.'

Aware of their sudden importance in the larger scheme of things, small parties in parliament - even those with one or two MPs - are flexing their muscles. In the corridors of power, stories abound 'demands' they are making.

The Samajwadi Party is openly asking for the head of Petroleum Minister Murli Deora, who according to it is on the side of an industrialist they detest. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti wants New Delhi to concede a Telangana state in return for the support of its three MPs. But one of its MPs has already turned a rebel.

Even the otherwise monolithic CPI-M is witnessing fissures. Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, a key MP from the CPI-M, is reportedly unhappy that he will be on the side of the BJP on the nuclear issue. Another CPI-M stalwart shares his anguish.

Many of the MPs privately admit they have no idea what the India-US nuclear deal is all about. Even some of the worst critics of the Left and BJP admit that the leaders of only these two parties - apart from the Congress - seem to know the subject.

It is these MPs who will decide if the nuclear deal gone politically wrong is good for India or not.

Nuke plants safe, go for the deal: Expert</b>

Chennai (PTI): India should shed its apprehensions over the safety of atomic power plants as well as reservations on the Indo-US nuclear deal and operationalise it to bring about a "paradigm shift" in the energy scenario, a nuclear safety expert said here on Wednesday.

"There are currently 400 nuclear reactors in operation in different parts of the world...including in earthquake-prone places like Japan," said L K Krishnan, former Director, Safety Research and Health Physics Group, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research of the Department of Atomic Energy at Kalpakkam near here.

He said two well-known nuclear accidents, one at Chernobyl in Russia and Three Mile islands in US are the rare ones. "The Chernobyl reactor is a different kind," said Krishnan, who takes pride in associating with the Kalpakkam nuclear power plant which withstood the 2004 tsunami.

The tsunami caused by the Indian ocean earthquake caused widespread damage in Kalpakkam coast, but the reactors remained unaffected and according to officials, no casualties were reported from the plant.

While the nuclear deal created a political storm in the country, some critics also cautioned about dangers posed by mega nuclear plants which are expected to come up in a number of places in India if the deal is operationalised.

On the deal, Krishnan asserts that India should go ahead with it as it provides access to buy 1000 MW reactors. "We should go for it. The first reason is if we go about building reactors ourselves, it's going to take a long time. See how much time it took to build a fast breeder reactor," he said.

<b>Manmohan Singh should step down says CPI leader</b>

Hyderabad (PTI): CPI deputy General Secretary and MP Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy on Wednesday suggested that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should tender his resignation to protect his and Congress party's image.

Accusing the Congress party of indulging in horse trading to garner support of MPs to save the government, Reddy said the Prime Minister should step down immediately to protect moral values he believes and save his image and also of his party.

"The Congress party has no majority in Parliament on the issue of Indo-US nuclear deal and Manmohan Singh government would be defeated during the vote of confidence," CPI MP told reporters.

Lashing out the Congress party for trying to create an atmosphere that Left parties are against nuclear energy, the CPI leader clarified that "Left parties are not against nuclear energy, we are against the deal which was against the interest of the people of the country".

No doubt that nuclear power was pollution free, but neither Congress leaders nor those who were supporting Indo-US deal were able to give exact figures of investment it needed, he said.

It was estimated that the country needs about Rs 15,00,000 crore to produce nuclear energy in near future, he said.

Parrying questions on the reported co-operation with BJP to take on the UPA government, the CPI leader said, "If the government wins the vote of confidence it would be detrimental for the country and if defeated it is good for the country".

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