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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Indo-US nuclear deal not dead: US official

CPI-M slams fresh bid by PM to push N-deal

The Indo-US nuclear deal is "not dead" but probably won't happen this year, former US Assistant Secretary of State Robin L Raphael said.

"My feeling is that it was hurried through. The agreement wasn't very well socialised," Raphael said Thursday on the sidelines of a conference on India and Pakistan in London.

"It's not dead. But I don't think it will happen this year - it will take some more time," she told IANS.

Raphael, who was Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia in the first four years of the Clinton presidency, also said the Democratic Party had softened its traditional anti-proliferationist and protectionist views.

The two-day London conference has been organised by the Tehelka media group.

Meanwhile, the CPI(M) squarely blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the prevailing political crisis saying his "renewed bid" to go to the IAEA to seek its approval for the safeguards agreement to operationalise the Indo-US nuclear deal was the main reason.

Observing that the country was "plunged into a political crisis once again", party General Secretary Prakash Karat said the cause for this ongoing crisis "lies squarely in the Prime Minister's renewed bid to go to the IAEA" to get the agreement approved.

He said the schedule set by the US was "impelling the Prime Minister to go ahead regardless of the consequences".

In an article in the forthcoming issue of CPI(M) organ 'People's Democracy', he maintained that the urgency to approach the Board of Governors of IAEA "runs contrary" to the understanding arrived at in November 2007 between Congress and the Left leaderships that the government would go to the IAEA for talks but not proceed to get the Board's approval.

Karat said the reason for such urgency was "the insistence of the Bush Administration that India complete the procedures for the safeguards agreement with the IAEA so that the Americans can take the step of formally initiating the process in the Nuclear Suppliers Group to get the waiver for nuclear trade with India.

"The Bush administration knows very well that there is no time for the 123 Agreement to be passed by the current US Congress," he said.

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