Source: Associated Press
NEW DELHI: Defending the BJP’s position on the Indo-US nuclear deal , party leader Arun Jaitley tried to allay the fears of American nuclear suppliers, saying it was “fairly safe” to invest in India. “The BJP’s vision of India-US ties should not be seen through the prism of one particular issue,” he said while responding to questions on differences between the UPA government and the Opposition on the nuclear deal and the subsequent liability legislation, at a lecture at The Heritage Foundation , a conservative think tank, in Washington on Wednesday.
The principal Opposition party and the Left had refused to back the nuclear liability bill in its original form last year and insisted on major amendments. Although the Left refused to support the legislation, the BJP gave its nod after the government agreed to make changes suggested by the party.
“Now it’s a done deal. It is a fairly safe regime to invest in,” Jaitley said, insisting that his party’s reservations over some parts of the nuclear liability bill has not distracted from what should be a relationship based on economic, trade and scientific exchanges.
In future too India and the U.S. could have diverse views on certain issues, but “this relationship can survive differences in perception in some areas”, Jaitley said. The leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha said former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had taken significant steps in re-establishing relations and pointed out that New Delhi’s ties with Washington enjoyed broad partisan support in India.
“The broad fundamentals of this relationship are strong. I see this as a fruitful relationship which is going to leave its footprints behind as far as our assessments of various issues within our region are concerned and as far as the larger global community is concerned,” he said. He was talking on “Indian Foreign Policy Priorities in a Shifting Global Landscape “.
On Pakistan, he said there was “no substitute” to engagement with Pakistan, but it would depend on the events in that country, how that country evolves and whether it rids itself as the epicenter of terrorism.
Jaitley, who made the comments a day before foreign secretary Nirupama Rao was to meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in Islamabad, said both the NDA and the UPA governments have tried to promote dialogue and expand ties with Pakistan. He said the distinction between state actors and non-state actors has partly got obliterated because of the role played by Pak agencies in promoting terror outfits like the LeT and the Taliban .