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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 15:11 GMT
New life for India's nuclear deal
Communists protest against the nuclear deal
The Left parties have been protesting against the nuclear deal
India's communist parties have approved the government starting crucial talks with a UN watchdog on a controversial civilian nuclear deal with the US.

The move by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's left allies has revived hopes that the deal is not dead.

Earlier, the communists had opposed the deal, threatening to pull out of the governing coalition.

This had led to the belief that Mr Singh may be forced to shelve the deal which he had described as a "landmark".

"The government will proceed with the talks and the outcome will be presented to the committee for its consideration before it finalises its findings," a statement issued by a joint panel of the communist and ruling coalition leaders said.

The two sides met in the Indian capital Delhi on Friday for talks.


Those in favour of the deal say it will give India access to civilian nuclear technology and fuel even though it has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In return, India is expected to open its civilian reactors to inspection.

Left-wing parties fear the accord would give the US too much influence over India's foreign policy.

Manmohan Singh
Under the deal, Indian nuclear plants will be open to inspection

Recent weeks have seen rounds of haggling between Mr Singh's Congress Party and their left allies.

A fortnight ago, Mr Singh told a news conference that the deal was not dead, although it had been delayed.

India remained "committed to see that this process is carried forward", Mr Singh said and added that efforts were on to evolve a consensus.

Left-wing parties had warned that they will withdraw support for Mr Singh's governing coalition if the nuclear deal went ahead.

Supporters of the deal say it would give India much-needed uranium to power its reactors so that they are less reliant on coal.

The US administration is also keen for the deal to be completed before next year's presidential elections.

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09 Nov 06 |  South Asia
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28 Jun 06 |  South Asia

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