Nuclear deal entails huge costs for India, say left parties
An India-United States civilian nuclear deal would entail huge costs for India and was a sign of the "mutual desperation of the leadership of both countries, India's left parties said Thursday.
US President George W Bush signed a domestic legislation on Wednesday enabling the deal which would allow US companies to export nuclear materials and technology for India's civilian nuclear energy programme, ending a three-decade ban, reported dpa.
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee is scheduled to leave Thursday night to sign the 123 Agreement with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington on Friday, diplomatic officials said.
In a statement after signing the deal, Bush said the US law does not change American commitments on nuclear fuel assurances and reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, which have been concerns with the Indian government and particularly of India's opposition political parties.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat said Bush's statement was a device to allay the genuine fears over the deal.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja said there was a wide gap between the Indian and the US understanding of the deal.
"While (Indian Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh wants to show some achievement at the fag end of his tenure, the Americans are desperate to help the military-industrial establishment at a time when the US is passing through a mega-financial crisis," Raja said.
"Nobody knows what the economic cost of this deal will be for India .... It will have very serious consequences for India and its future," Raja added.
A spokesman for India's Congress Party, leader of the ruling coalition, said the Indian nuclear programme continues to be "intact" and that the deal would ensure that future generations would not face electricity shortages.
"It is a victory for India .... It opens nuclear trade with the rest of the world," Congress Party spokesman Manish Tiwari said.
"Bush is silent in his speech about the contentious issue of nuclear testing and the government has clearly failed in ensuring the sovereignty and nuclear independence for the country," opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
"The last minute face-saving comments ... are personal assurances and have no legal standing or any statutory back-up," he said. "Only history would prove that its a defeat for the country earned by the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) at the cost of the common man."