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Nothing new in latest reply: Left

Vinay Kumar

NEW DELHI: In its latest reply, the government has only reiterated its stated position on a majority of issues raised by the Left parties on the India-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, highly placed CPI(M) sources told The Hindu on Wednesday.

The reply was “not satisfactory;” it “repeated stated positions and maintained that the Hyde Act was the business of the U.S. and has nothing new to offer,” the sources said.

Ahead of the October 5 meeting of the UPA-Left committee on the nuclear deal, the government replied to the 12-page rejoinder which the Left parties submitted at the last meeting of the 15-member panel here on September 19.

The committee has External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its convener.

Discussions at the last two meetings focussed on the impact of the Hyde Act, the 123 agreement and India’s self-reliant nuclear programme. Other key issues such as foreign policy, nuclear energy, and political and strategic affairs were still to be taken up, the CPI(M) sources said.

“When we go for the October 5 meeting, we will take our reply also and have discussions on it. This is part of the continuing exchange of notes between the government and us,” the sources added.

Forward Bloc leader Debabrata Biswas said the reply was “unsatisfactory” as it failed to deal with the Left concern at the impact of the Hyde Act.

CPI national secretary D. Raja said the committee would be rendered “meaningless” if the government proceeded with the India-specific negotiations at the IAEA.

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