Nuke transfer fears allayed

G8 move on enrichment technology not to affect India, says Pranab

Nuke transfer fears allayed

 “We are not deeply concerned about the G8’s decision since we already have the waiver from the NSG,” Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha, responding to the issue raised in the House by BJP member Najma Heptulla.

Najma brought the issue during the Zero Hour, pointing to apprehensions in some sections of the media over the impact of  G8’s decision on India. As she did so, members of her own party –– S S Ahluwalia and Arun Shourie –– along with Brinda Karat of the CPM demanded the government’s explanation on the issue which they called of “extraordinary” importance to the nation.

Mukherjee made it clear to the members that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the NSG are the appropriate bodies to consult on the civil nuclear deal. He was the External Affairs Minister when the nuclear deal was signed during the UPA government’s previous tenure. 

Najma wanted to know if India had been consulted by G8 before its decision on technology transfer. She also wondered if India has to adhere to any additional conditions as a consequence of the decision.

The issue came up in the Lok Sabha, as BJP’s Deputy Leader Sushma Swaraj demanded a detailed discussion prompting the prime minister to issue a statement. Her colleague Murli Manohar Joshi remarked that the matter involved national sovereignty. Sushma made the demand after CPM leader Basudeb Acharia expressed apprehension over the deal as a result of G8’s decision.

“What is the government’s stand on the matter as the prime minister had attended the Summit where the conditions were imposed,” Acharia said, demanding a clarification from the prime minister.

While Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal assured Lok Sabha members that he would convey their fears to the prime minister, Mukherjee handled the issue with his characteristic deftness in the Upper House.

At its summit in L’Aquila last week, the G8 issued a declaration in which it underlined that the group will curb transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology and items to the nations which are not signatories to the NPT, a decision which may affect India.

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