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House erupts in nuke fury

New Delhi, Dec. 22: The government today struggled to fight back an attack on its recent nuclear deal with the US even as it weathered an onslaught from the strong anti-proliferation lobby in Washington.

In the Rajya Sabha, the BJP accused the Congress-led government of becoming a US stooge. Former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha said Parliament cannot remain a spectator to the statements by US Congressmen. All signals from the US Congress indicated that the “goal post is being shifted”, he said.

He got support from an unusual quarter as the Left parties accused the government of making a departure from an independent foreign policy and demanded a discussion on the nuclear agreement in Parliament. CPM MP Brinda Karat accused the government of surrendering to the US.

In the US, lawmakers opposed to the deal said the administration’s move to launch nuclear cooperation with India had grave security implications for South Asia and the entire world.

In America, Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran today ruled out changes in the civilian nuclear deal and rejected inclusion of the proposal for a moratorium on fissile material production in it.

Addressing the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Saran said: “Let us be honest. These suggestions are deal breakers and are intended as such. The proposal for a moratorium on fissile material production was not part of this agreement and will not become so.”

Back home, the government’s defence came from human resource development minister Arjun Singh who said the statements by US Congressmen need not be taken seriously. There has been no change in the official position of the two governments that the nuclear deal hinges on the principle of reciprocity, he added.

The government has justified the July 18 nuclear agreement by saying it would provide much-needed fuel to meet the growing energy requirements of the country.During Question Hour, Manmohan Singh gave an account of the efforts being made towards achieving energy security.

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