Ties with US in our national interest, deal OK if home law changed: Advani
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In a dramatic turnaround, the BJP today distanced itself from the Left over the Indo-US nuclear deal with Leader of Opposition L K Advani saying that his party has no objection to the 123 Agreement if the government amends the Indian Atomic Energy Act to ensure strategic independence and non-hindrance in reactor fuel supplies.
Speaking to The Indian Express while visiting the blast sites in Hyderabad, Advani said: "It is anti-Americanism which propels the Left to oppose a nuclear ship docked at Chennai port. So far as the BJP is concerned, and it is in national interest that we have no objection to a strategic partnership with the US. This includes the forthcoming joint naval exercises."
Advani, however, said that the proposed nuclear deal in the present form was an agreement between "unequals" and the BJP objected to such "strategic subservience".
"We have always felt that India's nuclear deterrence is imperative in the national interest. It is, therefore, that we have firmly resisted becoming part of the non-proliferation regime, which is what the nuclear deal seeks to impose on us," he said.
But he made it clear that if the UPA government could bring an amendment in the Atomic Energy Act to protect India's strategic independence then "there is no problem with the 123 Agreement."
These latest remarks from the Leader of Opposition appear to undermine the Left's consistent claim that a "majority" in Parliament are opposed to the nuclear deal.
Advani said his party has pleaded that international agreements which impinge upon India's strategic independence or territorial integrity should be ratified by Parliament and an amendment to this effect must be made in the Constitution.
He said it was his party which supported the UPA government on the vote against Iran at the IAEA as it did not want any other country in the neighbourhood to become a nuclear power. "Whatever that we do in the field of foreign policy has to be our choice... We regard it as odd that the American Hyde Act should be speaking about India's attitude towards Iran," he said.
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