India losing free decision-making after N-deal: Jaswant

via published on April 21, 2006

NEW DELHI: The March nuclear deal with the United States does not entitle India to benefits of a nuclear weapons state, but rather subject it to restrictions applied on NPT signatories, former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh has said.

He rejected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s explanation that the agreement with Washington would allow New Delhi access to same benefits as nuclear weapons states.

“The fact is we are not a nuclear weapons state unless we are a signatory to the NPT, which we are not. We will have the load of the NPT on our head and yet we will not be a nuclear weapons state and we will not have benefits of a nuclear weaponst state…. We will not,” he told Karan Thapar on CNBC’s ‘India Tonight’ programme.

The BJP leader also insisted that the deal has put India under US pressure on various other matters as well. He cited India’s recent moves in Nepal to buttress his point.

“There is a curtailment of autonomous decision-making,” he said, adding the deal has narrowed down what he called India’s strategic space.

The former Minister also rejected the government’s description of the deal as a total gain.

“Say, if we, at the end of 20 or 25 years from now, are going to get about eight per cent of energy requirement from this then it’s a loss… A great loss to India because the cost, the price we are going to pay for it is virtually cutrailment of our sovereign functioning,” he said.

Also, Singh, who has recently expressed his concerns over the pact to the Prime Minister in a letter, warned that the deal should not be projected as the “only icon” of the India-US relations.

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