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'India not worried by G-8 stance on nuke issue'

July 13, 2009 16:14 IST

The government on Monday asserted that India was not worried by the decision of G-8 nations to curb the transfer of some sensitive nuclear technology to nations which have not signed the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty.

The statement from Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee came after Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party were seen on the same side in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, demanding a discussion on the key issue.

"As far as civil nuclear cooperation is concerned, the appropriate agency is International Atomic Energy Agency and the 45-member Nuclear Supplier's Group. We have got a clean waiver from NSG. We are not deeply concerned (over G-8 declaration)...," Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha.

In the Lok Sabha, BJP deputy leader Sushma Swaraj said, "We want a statement from the prime minister after a thorough discussion on the issue."

Her colleague Murli Manohar Joshi remarked that the matter involved national sovereignty. Raising the issue in the Lower House, Communist Party of India - Marxist leader Basudeb Acharia recalled the government had said that it had got a clean waiver to acquire enrichment and reprocessing items.

But the recent G-8 summit decided to impose conditions in regard to the sale of such items. "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 Dr Manmohan Singh.

Following the demands, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal assured the Lok Sabha that he would bring the matter to the notice of the prime minister. In the Rajya Sabha, Mukherjee, who had signed India specific safeguards agreement with IAEA last year, was responding to opposition members' concerns on the G-8 declaration at Italy.

At its summit in L'Aquila last week, the G-8 issued a declaration in which it underlined that they will curb transfer of enrichment and reprocessing technology and items to nations which are not signatories to the NPT, a decision which may impact India. Mukherjee said India is not a member of the G-8 grouping and it is only part of the outreach group of five countries.

The issue was raised by senior BJP member Najma Heptulla who wanted a statement from the government on the development. She was supported by her party colleagues and Left members, when she asked the government whether the G-8 declaration would mean additional conditionalities, on the waiver given by the NSG.

She wanted to know whether India was consulted before the declaration and if so whether the government had agreed to it. CPI-M leader Brinda Karat asked why the House has been kept in the dark over such an important issue.

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