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Opponents of US-India Nuclear Pact Disrupt Parliament, Call for PM's Resignation

Angry Indian lawmakers have disrupted parliament with calls for the prime minister to resign for allegedly misleading them about a nuclear pact with the United States.

Hindu Nationalist and Communist lawmakers shouted and interrupted proceedings in both houses of parliament Thursday after the U.S. State Department made comments that seemed to suggest that India had agreed not to test nuclear weapons.

Indian media quoted State Department spokesman Sean McCormack as saying that the landmark agreement contains provisions that terminate all cooperation if India conducts a nuclear test.

India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee reaffirmed that India has "the sovereign right to test and would do so if it is necessary and in the national interest."

Earlier this week, unruly lawmakers threatened to drown out India's prime minister, as he defended the deal in front of parliament.

Mr. Singh said the deal would not harm India's nuclear weapons program, rejecting claims the deal compromises India's sovereignty.

Both the Hindu nationalist opposition and the Indian government's key communist party alliance oppose the deal.

The Indian cabinet has approved the agreement, but it does not require backing by the parliament.

The deal must still be accepted by international nuclear regulators and the U.S. Congress before going into effect.

The deal gives India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and equipment in exchange for inspections of its civilian nuclear reactors, reversing 30 years of U.S. non-proliferation nuclear policy toward India.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

 

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