The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Singh says we shall overcome
- PM confident of nuke deal success

New Delhi, Aug. 22 (PTI): Breaking his silence on the standoff with the Left parties, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tonight voiced confidence that the political “turbulence” over the Indo-US nuclear deal will be overcome.

“Certainly, there is some turbulence in the political air in Delhi but I am confident that we shall overcome it,” he told reporters when asked whether the government would go ahead with the deal despite threats of “serious consequences” from the Left.

The Prime Minister has not commented in public about the impasse with the Left since he made a statement on the nuclear deal in Parliament nine days ago. His positive tone was in sharp contrast to growing speculation that the CPM, CPI and other supporting parties would not relent.

“As someone said ‘if winter comes, can spring be far behind'’” Singh said, quoting from P.B. Shelley’s poem at an interaction with the media jointly with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.

Singh said after the agreement between India and the US, “several stages are still to be undertaken if this is to be operationalised”.

Elaborating, he said India would have to negotiate a safeguard agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and then go to the nuclear suppliers group (NSG) so that the world’s restrictive regime on transfer of nuclear technology and fuel is relaxed with regard to India.

“It is my sincere hope that when it comes at NSG, we will have the support of Japan,” Singh said in an indication that his government was determined to go ahead with the deal. The Prime Minister’s remarks came as CPM’s top brass met to discuss their strategy on the nuclear deal if the government decided to go ahead with its operationalisation.

The party’s politburo member Sitaram Yechury said, “All we are asking the government is to press the pause button. It should properly evaluate all the implications before proceeding further.”

At the meeting of the CPM central committee, general secretary Prakash Karat is understood to have apprised the members of his meetings with the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to iron out differences on the issue.

The two-day meeting is expected to finalise the party’s position on how far it could go in opposing the deal.

The CPM today said it was not against India attending the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meet in Vienna next month, but the government was in no mood to accept its rider that there should not be any discussions on safeguards in the context of the Indo-US deal.

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