WikiLeaks give Congress nuke arsenal against BJP

Last Updated: Saturday, March 19, 2011 - 23:46

New Delhi: The BJP was on Saturday engulfed by
WikiLeaks expose with US diplomatic cables stating that the
party leadership had told them that its criticism of the US in
public was to score "easy political points" against UPA and
when in power, it would not harm the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The expose, published by `The Hindu`, drew immediate
strong reaction from ruling Congress which asked BJP to apply
to itself the same standards it adopted for the government
when it was needlessly disrupting Parliament for the last few
days.

The BJP, however, denied there was any doublespeak and
maintained that because of its strong position, the government
had to come with 16 amendments to the Civil Nuclear Liability
Bill.

Seshadri Chari, BJP national executive member and RSS
pointsman in the party, figured in the diplomatic cables as
having told an US embassy official in Delhi in December 2005
"not to read too much into the foreign policy resolution
especially the parts relating to the US", which had attacked
the UPA`s "subservience" to Washington.

"Chari dismissed the statement (resolution) as
standard practice aimed at scoring easy political points
against the UPA. BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar echoed these
statements, saying that the BJP was not really upset about the
US-India relationship, but merely wanted the Government of
India and US government to be more forthcoming about any deal
on nuclear policy," the cable said.

In another cable, the embassy`s then Charge d`affaires
Peter Burleigh wrote after a meeting with LK Advani in May
2009, just before the Lok Sabha poll results were out, the BJP
veteran "downplayed" any move by his party to reopen the
nuclear deal noting that BJP "does not take international
agreements lightly".

Advani acknowledged that the BJP`s public position in
July 2008 was that the deal constrained the country`s
strategic autonomy and that the party would reexamine if it
returned to power but connected that stance to "domestic
political developments" then at play in India.

The BJP leader, the diplomat wrote, was clear that
there would be "no imminent BJP move to reopen the (nuclear)
deal. In his view, the government is a continuity,
particularly in matters of foreign policy and international
agreements cannot be taken lightly."

Asked about the diplomatic cables quoting him, Chari
declined to comment saying he has not seen the report. He said
he did not remember if he had talked to Deputy Chief of
Mission Robert Blake in December 2005.

"I don`t remember the name. I don`t remember the
names. I don`t remember whom I met in 2005," Chari said,
adding the party will officially comment if required.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, March 19, 2011 - 23:46

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