PREVIOUS HOUR

-RSS-TMV-AKG/1Y/1.00

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD.):  There was no dinner break also.  There was neither lunch break nor dinner break and it went up to 11.30 p.m.  I had the privilege of listening to some of the very educative and interesting observations, some lengthy, some short.  All the hon. Members who participated in the discussions made their contributions and I am grateful to them for x-raying the issues from different angles.  Before I respond to most of the issues raised by the hon. Members, they have been responded to by a number of my colleagues.  I would like to express my regret that I could not listen to the first part of the speech, not exactly the first part, the first few minutes of the speech, of Mr. Arun Shourie because I had to rush to my room for some urgent work, and I also missed the initial part of the observations of a couple of Members.  However, throughout the debate I remained present here. 

       Sir, this is the fifth debate, if I recollect correctly, that we are having on India-US nuclear civil cooperation arrangement.  After the Joint Statement issued by President Bush and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in July, 2005, we had a discussion.  After the visit of President Bush to India in March, 2006 and after pressing for a discussion on the separation plan, a discussion took place.  Thereafter, on 17th August another discussion took place on the floor of the House and that discussion of 17th August had assumed some importance, in the sense, that certain pointed assurances, strictly speaking nine assurances, were sought from the Prime Minister by Mr. Yechury who initiated the discussion.  This discussion was also initiated by him.  The Prime Minister responded to all nine points.  As regards its relevance, I will come to it later.  Thereafter, we had a discussion, after the Hyde Act was passed in December.  The Prime Minister could not respond to that debate--but he listened to the debate throughout staying in the House--because he had some throat problem.  I responded to the debate which took place in December.  This is the fifth debate and this debate was slated for the Monsoon Session.  After the passage of the Hyde Act and after the last discussion, another important thing took place that the 123 Agreement was initialled and the text was frozen.  After the text was initialled, it was discussed with the leaders of the political parties.  The Prime Minister invited the leaders of the principal opposition parties, the BJP and the Left.  On the very first functional day of the Monsoon Session, the Prime Minister made a statement on 123 Agreement on the floor of the Lok Sabha and thereafter here.  But, unfortunately, neither his speech was heard because of disruptions nor could the discussion be held in either of these two Houses.  Therefore, we thought it would be better to have a discussion on this issue in the Winter Session.

(Contd. by VK/1Z)

VK/1Z/1.05

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD):  The short point which I am trying to derive at is, this is one international agreement, as some of the old Members may remember, like  the WTO Agreement which was discussed several times on the floor of this House and on the floor of the other House.  Therefore, this international arrangement, civilian cooperation agreement between the USA and India has also been discussed several times.  Now, many questions  have been raised.  I am not going into the technical aspects of the treaty because we have the privilege of having experts and  eminent scientists like Dr. Kasturirangan, present in the House as Member. He participated in the debate and made his contribution.  Legal experts like Shri Kapil Sibal, Dr.  Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Shri Ram Jethmalani have analysed it from various legal angles.  Knowledgeable Members like Shri Arun Shourie, the former Foreign Minister and Finance Minister, Shri Yashwant Sinha and many others, of course,  the initiator of the debate, Shri Sitaram Yechury -- I am not going to mention the name of everybody -- made very valuable contribution.  They presented how they feel about this agreement.  In the course of the discussion, normally what happens is,   sometimes, as we  argue a case, we argue it  to the extent that we forget all other aspects; in a Parliamentary debate, also sometimes, this type of approach takes place.  The first point which I would like to emphasise is that too much interpretations have been given  on the two nuclear tests which took place in 1974 and 1998.  Hon. Shri Yashwant Sinha, former Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister, during  the course of his observations, as yesterday was 4th December, referred to the decision of his political party, the then Jan Sangh, at the Working Committee Meeting in Patna, where they declared that India should go in for nuclear weapons.   In 1974, the first test was conducted at Pokhran.  It was followed by another, in May 1998, by the then NDA Government. In the debate, a substantial part was devoted to whether India retains the right of test or not, as if retaining the right of test is the crux of the whole thing.  In the course of the discussion, it was also attempted to project that what began in 1974, the leaders of the BJP are claiming that we took it to the logical conclusion in 1998 and this Government by signing this agreement or attempting to sign or finalise this agreement, is contemplating to give up that position.  Most respectfully I would like to submit that from day one of the Independence of this country, starting from the Father of the Nation to Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and all Congress Prime Ministers, they firmly made a commitment to total nuclear disarmament.                                           (Contd. by 2A)

RG/1.10/2A

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (contd.):  It is not correct to say that Mrs. Indira Gandhi went for the Test of 1974 because she felt jittery of the presence of the Seventh Fleet in the Bay of Bengal at the time of India-Pakistan War, on the eve of liberation of Bangladesh.  Most respectfully, I would like to submit, Sir, it is not correct, because I can tell the House what she said immediately after the Test.  I would like to read out her statement made on 18th May, 1974.  She made her stand clear at a Press Conference; I am quoting from a book.  I will take the name of the book also, where the statement of Mrs. Gandhi has been quoted.   It was stated, "The Indian Government announces the blast without specifying the location and declares it as a peaceful nuclear explosion. "  She had said in that Press Conference, and I quote:  "There is nothing to get excited about.  This is our normal research and study.  But we are firmly committed to only peaceful uses of atomic energy, not for weaponisation programme, as is being attempted to be projected."   This point has to be understood very clearly.  Later on, I will come to the issue of 'testing' or 'not testing'.  And, four days after that, when the then Pakistani Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, responded, then, she wrote a letter to him on 22nd May.  While assuring the Pakistani Prime Minister, she said, "We remain fully committed to our traditional policy of developing nuclear energy entirely for peaceful purposes.  The recent underground nuclear experiment conducted by our scientists, in no way, alters this policy.  There are no political or foreign policy implications of this test."  And, we are continuing this policy for long, even after 1974.  That is the rationality.  Again, what did the then young Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi, said in the United Nations Non-proliferation Disarmament Conference?  He clearly emphasised and told the international community, "I have acquired the capabilities.  I do not require the help from anybody.  India can manufacture weapons.  India can weaponise the nuclear programme.  But I can assure the international community that I will not graduate myself from the threshold level to a nuclear weapon State."  From 1974 to 19th May, 1998, when you went for an explosion, the phrase which we used was:  "India will keep its nuclear option open.  It will not close its nuclear option."  We may go in for weaponisation.  We may not go in for weaponisation.  But what we demanded from the international community is, "If you agree to a complete elimination of the Weapons of Mass Destruction, if you agree to the total disarmament and complete test-ban, both horizontal and vertical, I am assuring the international community that India will not go for weaponisation, though I have the capability". In the scientist's language, it could be said, "India was just a screw-dirver away from the weaponisation programme."                         (Continued by 2B)

2b/1.15/ks

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD): And it is obvious.  The NDA Government came to power on 1st March, 1998 and went in for explosion in May.  Am I to assume that in less than six weeks, you were able to make all the arrangements for the test, if everything was not ready?  Therefore, this is a question of principle, firm commitment on disarmament, firm commitment on non-proliferation which embedded in our civilisation and in our history.

       Therefore, you may have your own view.  And there was a broad national consensus on that issue.  Yes, from 1964, you have been saying that we want nuclear weaponisation.  But, in 1977, when you were a major partner in the coalition Government, you did not go in for nuclear weaponisation.  When you came into power and became the dominant partner in the Government, you did it.  And don't try to preach the whole world that the Congress Government did not go in for nuclear weaponisation because of some pressure.  The other day I was told that some Defence Minister has said that he was ready but because the instructions came from somewhere else, from the top, the test did not take place.  Obviously, the indication was that the pressure came from some super power and that is why the test did not take place.  It is not so.  The nuclear weaponisation programme is kept a top secret in every part of the world.  Only the Prime Minister or the Chief Executive and a couple of his advisers know about it.  I read a book on Harry Truman who, as the President of the United States of America first dropped the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  As you know, he was the Vice-President and when President Roosevelt had died, as per their Constitution, he was inducted as the President.  After 25 minutes of his swearing in, he was told by somebody, "Look, there is a weapon like this".  As the Vice-President of the USA, he did not have the knowledge of the existence of this weapon.  There is a book titled `Where the Buck Stops' written by his daughter, Margaret.  In that book, I had read it.  And he did not believe it! He was always enquiring from and questioned his Security Adviser, "Please explain the strength of the weapon in terms of TNT".  The Security Adviser -- who is an expert; of course, a General -- told him that the potentiality of that weapon could not be explained in terms of TNT.  Therefore, I do not know which Defence Minister had said this and what knowledge he had.  But I can assure you from my own experience and on the basis of the principles and the philosophy of the Congress Party that we do not believe in nuclear weaponisation in a massive way. Yes, we want.  When it came into existence, the pest came out of the tube, there was no question of putting the same pest back into the same tube; it became a fait accompli.  And when it became a fait accompli and when you yourself in your nuclear doctrine clearly stated `No First Use', `No Use against Non Nuclear Weapon States', `Voluntary Moratorium on Test Ban', it was accepted; we did not change the nuclear doctrine; we are pursuing the same.

       Sir, I am a little scared; not scared, but a little confused, I must say.  I must frankly admit that my knowledge in these matters is so little that I was a little confused when Shri Yashwant Sinha tried to play with the words 'credible minimum deterrent, whether it is minimal or whether it is minimum or whether it is credible'.  I then asked my officers to brief me on this, and I found that you have used this phrase on four occasions.                                          (Contd. by 2c/tdb)

TDB/2C/1.20

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD.): And this is the widely accepted phrase, 'credible minimum deterrent,' that we do not want to be a nuclear weapon State. That is the Foreign Policy; that is the philosophy. You also accepted it. That is why you put moratorium on tests. You gave the explanation. Yesterday, Shri Kapil Sibal explained in details, convinced the whole world that we have no intention of becoming a major nuclear weapon power. We want minimum credible deterrent from our security perspective. Mr. Sinha is a very knowledgeable man, an experienced man. What you have, what you don't have, what we would like to have, security and threat perception. It is not in absolute terms. It is related to who could be your potential adversary. Depending on his capacity, his potentiality, always the Government of the day will have to determine what would be the threat perceptions and what deterrent would be required. Repeatedly, it has been stated that 'yes, if we want; if we feel at some point of time that test is necessary from the geopolitical situation, defining of the weapons are necessary, we will do it. In 123 Agreement, it has not been banned. It has not been put that it will be prevented. I myself clarified on the floor of the House on 17th August of this year 'that yes, there will be no ban. And if India considers it necessary, it will undertake the test. As we did it in 1974; as we did in 1998; and the consequences will also follow. It is as simple as that. As it happened in 1974; as it happened in 1998. I entirely agree with one hon. Member that it is not necessary that we are compromising everything, we are sacrificing our indigenous programme. When you talk of energy, there is no need of ridiculing the concept of nuclear energy. An attempt has been made to query whether it will be beneficial to aam aadmi; whether it will help the common people; whether we are diverting the resources. Most respectfully, I would like to submit, Sir, through you, to the hon. Members that so far as 123 Agreement is concerned, it is an enabling provision, it is an enabling framework. With this enabling framework, the restrictions which are there, of having nuclear trade with India, will be removed. And, of course, it is applicable to the United States of America and India. As per the 1954 Atomic Energy Act of USA -- which has been subsequently amended -- the United States of America cannot enter into any civilian-nuclear cooperation with any country which is not a signatory to the NPT. Therefore, the Administration does not have the authority. A waiver is required under that Act, and that waiver is to be provided by an Act passed by the legislature. The US Congress passed the Hyde Act, which enabled the US Administration to cooperate with us.          (Contd. by 2d-kgg)

kgg/2d/1.25

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (contd.): So much of discussion has taken place on the Hyde Act, I am not entering into the legal angularity because it has been well explained; and, after all, I am not a practising lawyer, I am a humble teacher. Therefore, I do not have the legal acumen to argue for, to argue against. But, from the plain and simple reading, and my understanding of this is, yes, in this Act there are so many observations. When the Act was passed, I myself described the Act, 'it is prescriptive, it contains so many extraneous elements, we are not obliged to have it, it is not binding on us.' Yes, as per the Hyde Act, there will be a requirement of Presidential determination. To have the Presidential determination, the President will have to report to the Congress. But, most respectfully, I would like to submit through you, Sir, that this is one-time. It has been explained in detail. When the U.S. President will go to the U.S. Congress with these States, which has been initialled and the text has been frozen, which has not been operationalised. There is no question of operationalisation till the entire process is complete; and, the process has just begun. Of the various stages of the process of operationalisation of 123 agreement, one is to agree on the language of the text. That has been done. Then the second stage is IAEA, the India-specific safeguards arrangement. After that, the third stage is the amendment of the NSG guidelines. At the fourth stage, along with these three documents, it will be referred to the American Congress which will be on the Table for 90 days. As per our practice, it is just 2 days, 3 days, 4 days and the Bill will have to be taken up for consideration if you have to introduce and there is a notice period. But they require 90 days! It will lie there. Once the ratification is done by them, then the respective countries will sign and the process of operationalisation will complete. We are just in the process and that process is yet to be completed.

       Now, why are we going to have it? Much talk has taken place on energy. A lot of observations have been made. Here, I would just like to quote one observation made by no less a person than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, at the very initial stage of our Independence and economic development. I think, Mr. Natwar Singh is very well conversant with this letter and all the letters of Nehru because he and Dr. Karan Singh are associated with the Nehru Museum. This letter was written by the then Prime Minister to all the State Chief Ministers on 25th September, 1953, when he was camping at Ranikhet. What did he say? He says, and that has relevance and that is why I am quoting it: "In countries where power is cheap and abundant, as in the U.S.A., this aspect is not important. But where power is neither cheap nor easily available, the civil use of atomic power is of the greatest importance."

       In another place of the same letter--it is a long letter, it also acted as a sort of guidelines to the State Chief Ministers --there also he says:

(Contd. by kls/2e)

KLS/2E-1.30

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD): "In this connection, it is interesting to read.." he was referring to an article written by Gordon Dean .."What Gordon Dean has to say about India; he says that India has the most advanced atomic energy programme in all Asia. Outside that of Soviet Union, she would have her first reactor within two years and with no help so far from the US. She has the necessary natural resources, some good talent and ambitious plans."  This is of 1953.  If we had good talent in 1953, if we had ambitious plans in 1953, most respectfully I would like to submit that, Sir, surely, today our capacity has not been reduced.  That capacity has increased much more because today India is having an economy worth one trillion USD, India is having an export of more than 300 billion USD.  The Budgetary transactions, which Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru wanted, were ridiculed by saying that it was less than that of the New York Municipal Corporation.  Today it is more than 250 billion USD, both revenue and expenditure taken together.  Therefore, we have that capacity. I am not going into all the technical details, but we require energy. Today our installed capacity is 1,28,000 MW.  The Planning Commission has made some studies; the Atomic Energy Commission has made some studies.  Even during the NDA regime some studies were made.  In fact, it is the NDA Government, which projected a target of 3000 MW capacity by 2030 if nuclear commerce is opened up to India. Therefore, the Planning Commission says that the integrated energy policy brought out by the Planning Commission clearly recommends import of the Light Water reactors to supplement the indigenous programme. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India, NPCIL, carried out a detailed study in 2005 on the economics of Light Water reactors. Based on their analysis, they formulated a programme to set up nuclear generation capacity of 40,000 MW by the year 2020.  Not very ambitious!  Yes, true, today it is 3900 compared to 1,28,000 MW capacity. But for whole world today, it is 15 per cent. It is equally a fact that at some point of time they did not go for it.  Even the advanced countries did not go, it is correct, that the USA did not go for in a major way for the nuclear power programme. The advanced countries did not go in a major way.  But the situation has changed because of the growing climate consciousness, growing awareness of the environment, recognition of the fact of climate change, volatility of the international oil market, apart from its pollution and other difficulties.  All these factors are leading to the situation where perhaps in our energy mix, -- I am using the 'energy mix', it is not the only nuclear energy, -- we shall have to make the optimum utilisation of all sources of energy- hydel  power, thermal power, renewable energy sources, solar, waves, winds, all.  The Government of India is actually doing it.  It is not that we are not doing it.  In a Group of Ministers under my chairmanship, we decided about compulsory mixing of methanol to the extent of 5 per cent and the desirable level of 10 per cent.  It will have to be mixed with petrol and diesel. (Contd by 2F/SSS)

SSS/2F/1.35

 

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD.):  This decision has already been taken and we are going to implement it.  Laluji has taken up major cultivation of Jatropha in the lands of the Railways for encouraging bio-diesels.  It has been pointed out, and rightly pointed out, that in our neighbouring countries, there is huge potential of hydel power.  In our own country we have the problem.  But, when we are debating, Mr. Chairman, Sir, most respectively I would like to submit, particularly to those who have the experience of running the Government, just to score a debating point, they should not ignore the practical problems which we are facing in certain areas. What is happening in Tehri Dam project need not be required to be explained to the most knowledgeable Members of this House, where we had started in Nepal with an agreement initiated by me in 1996 as Foreign Minister. Maha Kali River and Panchveshwar Dam project has not yet been ratified by the Nepalese Parliament.  I do not blame anybody.  They have good reasons.  But the fact of the matter is, it cannot be ratified.  It cannot be implemented.  Where it can be implemented it has been done.  Look at Bhutan. We made a small beginning with Pukha and today with Tala project we are just having a beautiful cooperation. So, the short point, which I am trying to digest, Sir, is that our requirement would be 300,000 to 400,000 mega watts by 2020-2030. Therefore, we shall have to explore all the potentials.  Sitaramji while presenting his case, very correctly pointed out that we cannot ignore health, we cannot ignore education.  But most respectfully I would like to submit that in respect of health and education, perhaps this Government has done what maximum could be done under the given situation and which is going to be approved by the State Chief Ministers in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan in the next NDA meeting.

SHRI SITARAM YECHURY:  Not NDA meeting but NDC meeting. 

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE:  I am extremely sorry.   At NDC meeting which is going to be approved by the State Chief Ministers and the Central Ministers at NDC meeting.  Gross budgetary support -- I am not talking of the allocation, I am not talking of the IEBL and extra budgetary resources -- to education has been stepped up by 12 percentage points, -- percentage points -- not in absolute terms from seven per cent to nineteen per cent.  On health, it has been double and the hon. Member like Mr. Yechury is fully aware that today, we may like it or we may not like it but, the hard fact is that the core plan has become devious. Surely, Mr. Yashwant Sinha, with his long experience as Finance Minister, will bear me out because, practically, the Ninth Plan and the Tenth Plan have been implemented by him.  He knows that the Plan has become practically the budgetary support.  Therefore, it has been decided that yes, we shall have to go for that.  We shall have to do it. There is no denial of the fact that we shall have to spend more on education, more on health, Health for All, Education for All. People are talking of how it is going to help the aam aadmi.  Whenever we bring in any new ideas, yes, obviously we would like to examine it.  We would not like to be taken simply by some ideas.  But, please have some respect for experience.                             (Contd. by NBR/2G)

-SSS/NBR-GS/2G/1.40.

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD.): Try to learn from the past experiences before just putting your objection.  When Shri Rajv Gandhi Government talked of IT revolution, what had happened?  We expressed our concern as to what would happen to Aam Aadmi.  How is he going to be benefited by IT?  How is he going to be benefited by computerisation?  He had taken it up with the concept of moving into the 21st Century.  Today, India's leadership in the IT is the vision of that man.  But, most respectfully we would like to remind this hon. House and ourselves that many of us did not accept that.  We were sceptical about its use.  Yes, with new ideas and new perceptions, there may be scepticism.  Therefore, the hon. Prime Minister always desire to have discussion.  He is not running away from Parliamentary debate or discussion.  He is trying to understand the different points of view.  The discussion does not mean dictation. Somebody will say and you will have to accept it.  Let us, frankly, exchange our views, ideas and see where we are wrong and where we are right.  Please do not treat it as immodesty. I most respectfully submit, what Mr. Kapil Sibal was referring.  I would like to complete the remaining half circle where he has left.  It was not merely the criticism of the Dunkel Text.  But, it was related to a specific programme.  As all of you are fully aware, especially the hon. Members who have participated in this discussion, no international treaty is self-executive.  An international treaty is to be implemented by the national law.  That is why it is written that it will be implemented by the participant-countries as per their national laws. And, if the national laws are not inconformity, they are to be amended, as it has been in India's case.  As per our scheme of the Constitution, this Parliament does not have the right to make legislation on the State List  -- List No. II. But, to implement an international agreement, if it required, the Parliament had the power.  List - I of the Seventh Schedule has given this power to the Indian Parliament.  This was the occasion.  When Mr. Joshi and BJP friends, at that point of time, opposed seriously, I signed the WTO Agreement.  Dr. Najma Heptullah was the Deputy Chairman, she will bear me out, knew what I had to face.  Mr. Digvijay Singh was also their member.  They opposed very vehemently.  We could not pass it first.  Then, we went through an Ordinance.  But the Ordinance has to be passed by the Houses.  We had brought it.  It was rejected by the Rajya Sabha.  I can understand that. They opposed then.  They are opposing now.  Even when a further amendment we brought, after this Government came to power, I, along with Mr. Chidambaram and the Commerce Minister, had to spend many hours with them to meet their requirements and after that when we addressed their concerns, we amended that Act. But, I am talking of the first amendment to the Indian Patent Act where the product patent in the 1970 Act was not permissible.  We had only the process patent, not the product paten.  So, we were to do it at that time. Please remember, the bogey was that the life-saving drug prices will reach the sky.  The Indian pharmaceutical industry will die, will collapse.  All the multinationals are waiting to capture the Indian markets.  But, today, Indian pharmaceutical industry is booming in the world.            (CONTD. BY USY "2H")

-NBR-USY/2H/1.45

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD.):  It is one of the most advanced sectors.  And, what happened, ultimately?  I am not talking that.  Mr. Siva says, "Don't have your policies linked with your place of seats".  You opposed it; you opposed the Patents Act.  As a result, there was a complaint in the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism that India had failed to provide exclusive marketing rights, or, amend its patent laws in respect of the IPR on certain product patents, including drugs, medicines, food products and certain other products, like, chemicals.  You sent your best lawyers twice, including the then Attorney General of India, Soli Sorabjee.  They did their best.  But you lost the case and you had to come back to the same House.  We were sitting there.  I consulted Dr. Manmohan Singh, who was the Leader of the Opposition at that point of time.  He said, "Yes, we should support it."  We talked to the Congress President.  She said, "Look, mere accident of change of seat need not necessarily change the policy. If the policy was good, when you were Commerce Minister, the policy is equally good when Mr. Murasoli Maran is the Commerce Minister."  And, we lent our support.  The CPM opposed even at that time also.  So, they are consistent in their opposition.  I may not agree with that, but I respect that.  The simple short point, which I am trying to drive at, Mr. Chairman, Sir, through you, is that please let us give it a try.  Our intention is to try optimal utilisation of all sources of energy.  When we are opening the nuclear market, it is not that all the multinational people will come,  because these will be, at that point of time, commercial transactions.  You will have to apply the application of your commercial mind, commercial judgement.  Wherever you will find a cheaper cost-benefit ratio, you will have to be calculative, you will have to go there.  In the other House, I used the word 'passport'.  It is some sort of passport.  I may like to have a passport in respect of one country, but thereafter I have the facilities of travelling all over the world, depending on getting the visa.  It is true and I do entirely agree with Mr. Chandan Mitra, when he says that our scientists did their best to overcome the crisis that we had to face during the sanction regime. I do appreciate it.  I salute them.  They have done a wonderful job, a yeoman service to the people of this country.  But, as a responsible Government, is it not our responsibility, if opportunity comes, to provide them with the opportunity to facilitate so that they can show their talent?  There is no denial of the fact.  Nobody will disagree on this point, including those who are present in this House, that Indian scientists can do miracle, provided they get the opportunity.  But, surely, I would not like to have a situation -- this is my most respectful submission to you Mr. Chairman, and to the hon. Members, through you -- where, if it is possible for us, we will not explore the possibility, we will not do our best to facilitate our scientists, our technicians, our technologies to have the maximum advantage all over the world.  Why our DRDO would still be, in certain activities, under the NTT lease?  It is there.  It is since 1974 till today.  I may like it, I may not like it.  I may pass resolutions.  I may condemn in the strongest terms.  But that condemnation, that using of strong words is not going to help the DRDO come out of the NTT lease.  If the sanction is there, sanction is there.  This is the ground reality.  In the case of Cryogenic Engines, yes, I had to face the problem.       

(Contd. by 2j -- VP)

VP/1.50/2J

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD. ):  We had to face this problem.  Our Light Combat Aircraft Programme has been delayed because of that.  But the question is:  Why are they doing it?  Why did they change it?  Why  was it not there in 1971? Today, everybody recognises that India cannot be simply sidelined or pushed aside.  All over the world, our non-official ambassadors and persons of India origin are carving their own place by their own merit, by their own intelligence, and by their own hard work.  You also recognise them.  I must give you the credit.  You first recognise it. We are following it.  It is because of their contribution only.  They are also influencing it; it is not something, which happenned all of a sudden.  If there was a strong bipartisan support in favour of this Agreement in the U.S. Congress, it was not merely because of the efforts of the administration.  Yes, administration did its best.  President Bush did his best. And, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice did her best.  From their point of view, they did their best.  But the Indians settled in America also made their own contribution.  They have a sizeable influence there too.  If we have these assets, should we not utilise them?  Should we not explore that?  This is my small submission to you, Mr. Chairman, Sir. 

       Another point, which has been, repeatedly, raised is on Iran. There is no denial of the fact, and, we have explained it a number of times also. Don't doubt our sincerity.  Yes, we voted once in the IAEA Board against them.  And, our intention was to ensure that it does not go to the Security Council because if it goes to the Security Council, and if it adds sanctions under Chapter 7 of the Security Council, the problems would be more.  That is why, we tried to see if it could be avoided and have a compromise draft with the European countries.  It was there.  But, thereafter, we have not done that in the latest voting.  We have, in collaboration with Malaysia, Russia, China and with a host of non-aligned countries, taken the correct position.  What is that position?  I  attended the ASEM Foreign Ministers' Conference which took place in last May.  Forty-five Foreign Ministers from different parts of the world; 27 of the European Union, Ten Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and about 7-8 from other countries attended it.  I myself articulated the views of the Government of India that Iran is an old civilised country. It is a proud nation. We have civilisational links with them.  I do not believe that merely by passing sanctions or threatening or hurting their national pride, you will resolve these issues.  If these issues are to be resolved, they will have to be engaged, and they will have to be engaged in the appropriate national and international forum, that is, the IAEA.  Some improvement has taken place because of all these efforts.  In these areas, we shall have to work in collaboration with other countries.  We are working on that.  It is not necessary that if I have friendship with Mr. Sitaram Yechury, I cannot have friendship with Mr. Yashwant Sinha.  I can have friendship equally with Mr. Sitaram Yechury, Mr. Amar Singh, Mr. Yashwant Sinha and with everybody.  Vasudaiva Kutumbakam is our foreign policy.  We do not consider anybody our adversary.  We are careful and watchful.  But, at the same time, we would like to have cordial friendship.  Therefore, that is the approach, which we have, and we are having that.  And don't doubt it.  Don't doubt that whatever we are doing is to be looked at with some sort of suspicion. 

(Continued by PB/2K)  

PB/2K/1.55

SHRI PRANAB MUKHERJEE (CONTD.): You have overcome that stage. In 1977, you had it. That is why you had to give a new nomenclature to the Foreign Policy, to the Non-Aligned Policy.  You came out with a formulation in 1977, after coming to power, for the first time, 'Genuine Non-aligned Policy', as if ours was spurious non-aligned policy.  And, what was the element of the 'Genuine Non-aligned Policy'?  I am a small man, Sir, of less than average intelligence.  I could not understand what was the 'genuine non-aligned policy' which was followed between 1977 and 1980. You corrected that. I do agree; you corrected that.  Between 1998 and 2003, you corrected that. But don't indulge in it. Simply because you are sitting on the other side of the Chair that whatever you did or whatever you believed when you were in office is to be done or is to be completely negated.  That is not the approach because if we ought to live in coalition politics, we ought to be accommodative. 

Sir, we have been attacked as to why we did this UPA-Left mechanism.  I have no quarrel of inviting Mr. Amar Singh and his party to join us.  I will be welcoming it. But, at that point of time, it was decided that if there is a misunderstanding among those who are supporting us, then let us try to sort that out. You know the exercise which you did -- I would not like to mention the names; some of you are present here -- at your personal level to iron out the differences between the AIADMK leader, Dr. Jayalalitha and the NDA before the first coalition Government, the first NDA Government collapsed. You did your best to iron out the differences.  You did not succeed.  That is a different issue. But that did not mean that there should be a parliamentary committee to look into it, there should be a parliamentary intervention to sort out the problem between two coalition partners.  The arrangement which we are having today -- I do not know -- depends much on my colleagues, on our capacity to deliver goods.  But we are making sincere efforts, sincere attempt to see how we can narrow the differences, how we can iron out the differences which we are having. And, I do hope it would be possible for us to find out the solution. 

Sir, we are committed to the Common Minimum Programme. Our Foreign Policy is independent.  If somebody makes some comment, am I to accept it? I have been advised, not directly or by writing letters, but through public pronouncements, that the Non-Aligned Movement is a dead Movement.  I also gave the reaction through public, through Press, that Non-aligned Movement is very vibrant.  India's belief is firm on Non-Aligned Movement.  The South-South Cooperation is absolutely necessary for the economic development and it is one of the important components of the Non-Aligned Movement. 

In the decision-making process, there are many stages.  Mr. Arun Shourie took the trouble of explaining in details what Condoleezza Rice said, what Nicholas Burns said at the different committee stages.  Fine.  You do it.  You are a very highly educated and knowledgeable person.  You know you want to go to the background. But, most respectfully, I would like to submit, when we introduce a Bill in Parliament, Indian Parliament, in our system, it goes to the Standing Committee.  The Standing Committee invites evidence from all over the country.  People come, depose their evidence; Government officers come and depose their evidence. The Committee listens, analyses, comes to a conclusion and makes its recommendations. The Government scrutinises it and after that when the legislation is passed, after passage of the legislation, who said at what stage in the decision-making is not relevant; what is relevant here is the product of these exercises.   (Contd. by 2l/SKC)

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