NEW DELHI (AFP) - Three of India's most respected atomic scientists on Friday criticised a controversial nuclear deal with the United States, saying it would have "serious repercussions" for their country. The government says the deal, signed in 2005, will give India access to nuclear technology it needs to help meet its rapidly rising demand for energy. But a joint statement issued by three scientists who have worked on India's nuclear programme warned the deal was loaded with stipulations that could destroy the country's commercial and military interests. The scientists - former Atomic Energy Commission chairman P K Iyengar, the ex-chief of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board A Gopalakrishnan and A N Prasad, former head of Bhabha Atomic Research Board - sent their message by fax to all lawmakers. The statement comes days before MPs will participate in a parliamentary confidence vote, triggered following the Communist party's withdrawal of support from the governing coalition partner because of the deal. "Once the deal is in place, it is clear that India's commercial interactions with the US, as well as with any other countries, will be firmly controlled from Washington," the statement said. The scientists urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to launch "long-ranging and structured deliberations to develop a broad consensus" on the deal. They warned the agreement was a virtual minefield for India. "The deal could have other serious repercussions, including a potential weakening of India's nuclear deterrent and an ability to protect and promote indigenous research and development efforts in nuclear technology," they said. The scientists said the agreement was vague on India's quest to reprocess spent fuel for plutonium for its mushrooming fast breeder reactors. "There will be a large number of safeguards and additional protocol issues related to this, and all these hurdles will have to be crossed to reach the beginning of reprocessing," the 10-point statement said. Part of the deal involves India allowing the UN atomic body, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to subject the country's civilian nuclear sites to international controls for the first time.