Home India Politics Left rejects Indo-US nuclear deal, to assess relations with UPA

Left rejects Indo-US nuclear deal, to assess relations with UPA


New Delhi : Voicing their ire over the government’s deepening ties with the US, the Left parties Tuesday asked it not to proceed further with the recently-finalised civilian nuclear agreement with Washington and also threatened mass protests and a re-assessment of its relations with the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

After a meeting of four Left parties, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat said the communists would not accept the Indo-US nuclear agreement and demanded a review of the strategic aspects of the ties between New Delhi and Washington.

“The 123 agreement should not be seen in isolation. It has to be viewed from the overall strategic relations with the US,” Karat, flanked by leaders of four Left parties, told reporters.

“We have also decided to hold protest marches against the proposed joint naval exercise which is to be held in Bay of Bengal from Sep 4-9,” he said, adding that it would be mark the emergence of a new quadrilateral alliance – with Japan, US and Australia – as a part of the “unequal global order”.

He said the Left parties would organise marches from Chennai to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Kolkata to Visakhapatnam from Sep 4 and hold a joint rally in Visakhapatnam on Sep 9.

Karat, who indicated that the CPI-M-led Left Front was in a mood to review its support to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government over its increasing proximity towards the US, said: “We will assess our relations with the UPA as our third agenda after our protests against (the) naval exercise.”

Although the Left parties’ support is crucial for the Congress-led coalition government, their objection to the civil nuclear agreement need not have any impact on the deal as bilateral agreements do not need parliament approval in India. However, the Left said it would oppose the government’s foreign policy, alleged to have been lenient towards the US, “politically”.

The Left parties will also press for a constitutional amendment so that international treaties and certain bilateral agreements have to go to the parliament for approval.

“The US is exerting pressure on India to buy a whole range of weaponry such as fighter planes, helicopters, radars and artillery involving multi-billion dollar contracts. The aim is to ensure ‘inter-operability’ of the two armed forces,” Karat alleged.

Communist Party of India leaders A.B. Bardhan, D. Raja, All India Forward Bloc leader G. Devarajan and Revolutionary Socialist Party MP Abani Roy were present when Karat unveiled the Left’s plan of action against the UPA.

Pointing out that the nuclear deal, which was finalised last month, was “commercial” for the US, the Left said the commitments made by Washington were “either quite ambiguous or are ones that can be terminated at a future date”.

The communists argued that the 123 agreement could not be seen outside the context of Hyde Act, passed by the US Congress last year emphasising the supremacy of its national laws in bilateral agreements.

“The agreement which binds India into clauses of perpetuity and which legitimises the US abiding by its national laws is something which should be seen objectively for its serious implications,” Karat told reporters.