Nuclear deal cannot be renegotiated, PM tells Left


New Delhi : After his Left allies rejected the Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has made it clear to them that the pact will not be renegotiated as it has already been approved by the cabinet, informed sources said.

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According to sources in the Left parties, Manmohan Singh telephoned Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat, Communist Party of India (CPI) leaders A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja to find out the Left’s reaction to the 123 agreement.

The four Left parties, which have expressed their displeasure over the government’s deepening ties with the US, have asked the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government not to proceed further with the recently finalised civilian nuclear agreement with Washington.

“The prime minister asked Karat about the Left parties’ decision on the nuclear agreement. Karat said we have decided to oppose it,” a Left leader told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

“But the prime minister pointed out that the cabinet had already approved the pact. Karat said he was aware of it but has decided to oppose it politically,” the leader said.

The Left leaders have said the 123 agreement could not be seen in isolation but in the context of overall strategic relations with the US.

When asked about the prime minister’s telephone call, Raja said: “He just wanted to find out what exactly our views were on the nuclear agreement.” According to Raja, Manmohan Singh did not mention about the government’s decision to go ahead with the agreement despite the communists’ opposition.

The sources also said the prime minister has asked Karat whether the CPI-M and its allies – which extend a crucial outside support to the government – would “review” their support to the Congress-led coalition government as well.

Karat was quoted saying: “The Left parties will have an assessment on its ties with the UPA later.”

Karat, who announced a protest marches against the proposed joint naval exercise which is to be held in Bay of Bengal from Sep 4-9, has said that the Left parties would re-assess its relation with the UPA as its third agenda after the protests.