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Press Briefing 05 Sep 2008
Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi addressed the media today.

Shri Abhishek Manu Singhvi said it is amusing to find the unholy alliance between the Left and the BJP voicing opposition in one united voice at the 11th hour at the nuclear deal.

While India is fighting minimalist but potential international opposition at the international fora by putting its best foot forward, at the same time, he said we have the strange and sorry spectacle of the Left and the BJP working in tandem, uniting to undermine India's case, India's spirited defence globally. Mr Karat and Mr Advani are, therefore, criss crossing India, hand in hand, on this issue.

Friends, there is a time when obstruction must seize, when delaying tactics must seize, when misinformation must seize. In a democracy, there is a time to oppose but once democratic processes gives you a result there is a time to take that decision gracefully and sportingly.

These two phrases do not unfortunately exist in the dictionary of the Left or the BJP. The need to take it gracefully and sportingly is on the more after these opposers forced a divisive trust vote which they lost.

It is most unfortunate then there is internal Opposition till the 11th hour and look at the ironies. One irony is that the maximum applause will be where if the deal does not go through -- it will be Islamabad or in Beijng and in Nagpur, the remote control of the BJP.

Another irony then there will be two entities uniting in opposition. One who opposed even Mrs Indira Gandhi's bomb testing 1974 and the other which tested for second time 1998. So, those who tested in 1998 and those who opposed 1974 test are uniting.

Are they uniting in favour of India? Are they uniting for the benefit of India? Are they uniting for India or for their short term opportunistic, political gains. That is for this country to judge, that for the people of India to judge. But we believe this is political opportunism at its worst.

Friends, it is laughable that communications or letters between two branches of the US government can change or affect any term of international treaty or executive agreement like the 123. Just reverse the whole thing and take any other treaty between India and the USA. Hundreds and thousands of letters which must be exchanged between different branches of the Indian Union . Executive, Legislature etc and between different branches of the American -nation.

Can they possibly affect the treaty which you have on your website for two years for you to read every text, every clause, every comma, and every full stop? Will those letters change the text or the meanings of those words of the text which are there for all of you to see for the last several years? This is nothing but an artificial storm in a non-existent tea cup sought to be created entirely for pure sensationalism for pure disinformation.

The BJP's main argument and opposition is what? That India's right to test will be compromised. Look at the irony. The clause in the 123 and letters say that if India tests, the US can consider its options under 123 and do this and that. The first question I want to ask is . If the US can do all these things, it can do only if India tests and where is India's right to test compromised. The very fact that you are reading the supposed things which the US can do if your test shows that there is no limit for India to test.

Third, if India wants to do so and so with the nuclear bomb then the US has a right to consider its options but both parties have to sit together for one year under the prescribed consultative mechanism. Do letters change that clause?

Fourth, did the Prime Minister or the government of India or the UPA tell anybody that India would have a sovereign right to test but the USA will be obliged to continue to supplying while you are testing? Who has said so? Nobody ever said so.

But look the whole point of testing is exaggerated and distorted. In 35 years we have tested twice. Testing is not like changing your clothes that you go and test every two days. There is no need to test in all probability.

Russia has signed the CTBT. Britain doesn't test because it has no testing sites. It had hardly tested and that too decades ago. The US and China have had a very few tests. They have both signed the CTBT but have not ratified it. So it's not like testing is an everyday requirement.

And you the NDA and you Mr Vajpayee for that reason after only India's second test in 1998 made a voluntary commitment to unilateral moratorium to test.

While 123 reserves to you India the extraordinary right to test, if you feel so in emergency, if you test 10 to 15 years later, you would have strategic reserves built up in that time. At which point of time, if one out of 45 countries chose not to deal with you it would have not effect on your strategic reserve.

Fifthly, assume that for any reason, the USA was to withdraw after one year consultative process, there is no 123 which says that France will not supply us, that Russia will not supply us, that Germany will not supply us, that any of the other 45 countries will not supply us.

Therefore, it is pure sensationalism. Both the Left and the BJP are clutching like drowning persons like illusionary straws. This letter is like an illusionary straw at which two drowning parties are clutching. There is no substance in allegation, there is no merit in the allegation except that they seek to obstruct and thwart that which is good for India. It seeks to obstruct something which India is fighting for international fora and which will only please our enemies if it doesn't go through.

The Prime Minister of India, the government of India, the UPA stands strong and firm and proud, both in its commitment to non-proliferation, in which we have an impeccable international record, its commitment to no unnecessary testing while reserving its right to test and its commitment to be honourable member at the high table of nuclear commerce and trade for civilian nuclear exchange for benefiting our electricity position.

To a question on testing, Dr Singhvi said the India would not needlessly test; India would be a responsible member of the nuclear club was the spirit behind Rajiv Gandhi's original disarmament speech. This whole tone and content was said way back almost 20 years before I speak by Rajiv Gandhi. And the whole spirit of that speech, the cornerstone of India's foreign policy that's why we refuse to sign NPT or CTBT which we considered to be discriminative and

along that we said if we are not signing the NPT or the CTBT, it does not for a moment mean that we are a trigger happy, irresponsible nuclear power.

He said it does not mean that we do not realize the great responsibility on a country which possess nuclear power, whether civilian or military, but most importantly it shows that in our nuclear journey of 40 years, we have only tested twice. And we have not done one single rogue act or rogue omission as you find many examples in the world in the realm of handling nuclear power. And that is the track record that has led to this unique agreement of 123 which no other country in the world has got namely a formal de jure and de facto recognition of your nuclear status without signing the NPT or the CTBT.

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