Narayanan briefs Advani on 123 pact

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) The government Thursday stepped up its efforts to muster cross-party support for the India-US nuclear deal with National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan briefing Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha L.K. Advani about the draft 123 agreement.

Narayanan drove to Advani’s residence in the morning and assured him that the pact has not compromised India’s vital strategic interests and has preserved the integrity of the indigenous three-stage nuclear energy programme, sources said.

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Advani said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will formulate its position only after seeing the text of the 123 agreement, a stance taken last week when Manmohan Singh and key nuclear negotiators, including Narayanan, briefed former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other senior BJP leaders on the deal.

Advani was in Singapore when Manmohan Singh briefed Vajpayee and his party colleagues Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, Rajnath Singh and Arun Shourie about key features of the nuclear pact.

The BJP has apprehensions about testing and reprocessing of nuclear fuel.

“Our apprehensions have not been allayed completely. We have no reason to distrust him but we would like to first go through the text of the draft agreement,” former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha had said after the meeting with the prime minister last week.

The government is likely to present the 123 agreement, that operationalises the nuclear deal, on the first working day of the monsoon session of parliament.