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Stung Left unleashes nuke volley
- Missile man in line of fire

New Delhi, June 28: A day after the Prime Minister dared the Left to bring his government down, the CPM hit back by accusing the Centre of buckling under US pressure on the nuclear cooperation deal.

The party objected to various clauses in the US bill on implementation of the deal, such as the one about Delhi helping America “contain Iran” and the conditions relating to nuclear testing. The politburo said these contradict assurances the Centre had made before Parliament.

The bill, which yesterday took the first step towards US congressional acceptance, looks to secure India’s “full and active participation” in US efforts to “dissuade, isolate and, if necessary, sanction and contain Iran” for seeking nuclear weapons.

“This clearly substantiates the CPM’s apprehensions that (the) US will arm-twist India through this deal. It will make India change its foreign policy and kowtow to the strategic global designs of the US,” the CPM said.

The party also bristled at the clause that the concessions to India will “cease to be effective” if Delhi conducted a nuclear test. “India’s unilateral moratorium on conducting nuclear tests cannot be subservient to such US conditionalities. India’s sovereignty on these matters cannot be compromised,” the politburo said.

It opposed the bill for trying to get India to comply with the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty, which Delhi had in the past described as discriminatory.

The CPM also objected to the clause that said the US President must first determine that India and the International Atomic Energy Agency have “concluded a safeguards agreement requiring the application of IAEA safeguards in perpetuity”.

“This runs completely contrary to the assurance given by the Prime Minister in both the Houses of Parliament,” the politburo said. “The Prime Minister had assured that India will approach the IAEA for safeguards only after the USA endorses the July 18, 2005, nuclear deal.”

The CPM voiced fear that India might fall prey to Washington’s “carrot-and-stick policy” and compromise the country’s sovereignty. It urged the government “to uphold India’s sovereignty in all these matters and not deviate from its stated foreign policy commitments and positions under US pressure”.

The statement suggests that the battle of nerves between the government and the Left will continue and deepen in two crucial areas: foreign policy and economic reforms.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister had asked CPI leader D. Raja if the Left, which was issuing strong statements against his government every day, planned to topple his ministry. Raja told Singh they were not “yet ready” to do so.

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