N-deal will end India’s isolation, open up new pathways: PM

August 15th, 2008 - 11:41 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) With less than a week to go before a crucial meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday pitched for nuclear energy as a “clean” alternative that would enable India to meet the twin challenges of energy security and climate change - and also end its global nuclear isolation. “All over the world, there is growing realization of the importance of atomic energy to meet the challenge of energy security and climate change,” Manmohan Singh said in his address to the nation from the Red Fort on India’s 62nd Independence Day.

“It is a clean, environmental friendly and renewable source of energy,” he underlined, with an eye on those countries in the NSG that still have reservations on some aspects of the India-US civil nuclear deal.

Linking the nuclear agreement with national development, the prime minister contended that it would end India’s nuclear isolation.

“The nuclear agreement that we are negotiating with developed countries will end India’s nuclear isolation,” he said in a clear effort to present the deal not just as an agreement with the US but with leading powers of the world.

“It will open up new opportunities for trade in dual-use high technologies and nuclear materials and equipment, opening up new pathways to accelerate industrialization of our country.”

Listing the benefits of the nuclear deal for the common man, he said: “It will enable us to provide electricity to meet the needs of our farmers, our artisans, our traders and our industry.”

He also lauded India’s “world class” atomic scientists and technologists for “developing nuclear energy capacities despite heavy odds”.

“But there are handicaps which have adversely affected our atomic energy programme. We have inadequate production of uranium. The quality of our uranium resources is not comparable to those of other producers,” he said, explaining the reasons why India went for a nuclear deal with the US.

“Many countries have imposed sanctions on trade with India in nuclear materials, nuclear equipment and nuclear technology. As a result, our nuclear energy programme has suffered,” he said.

The NSG will meet in Vienna Aug 21-22 to decide on amending its guidelines to restore global nuclear trade with India, three decades after such trade was suspended following New Delhi’s 1974 nuclear tests.

India hopes the NSG will approve the India-US nuclear deal by consensus, paving the way for the US Congress’ nod, likely early next month.

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