Broad political consensus to be built for n-deals: Pranab

April 29th, 2008 - 11:06 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) The Manmohan Singh government would build a “broad national political consensus” to go ahead with “various agreements on civil nuclear cooperation” and to end India’s isolation in high-technology trade, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said here Tuesday. Speaking at a national conference of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mukherjee said the government gave “high priority” to technology access.

“India has remained isolated from high-technology commerce due to its position on nuclear energy,” he said, referring to India’s refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which it considers to be discriminatory.

“We hope to resolve this soon and implement various agreements on civil nuclear cooperation,” said Mukherjee.

He did not refer specifically to the Indo-US nuclear deal, but rather seemed to imply similar agreements with Russia and France too.

“We will continue to build a broad national political consensus on this issue so as to realise early the promise inherent in the initiative,” he added.

The Indo-US nuclear deal is in limbo with the government’s Left allies strongly opposing it.

The Left’s stance has delayed the initialling of an India-specific safeguards agreement for civil nuclear installations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The safeguards document is necessary for the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to make an exception for India in its guidelines that strictly ban all nuclear commerce with non-NPT signatories.

Talking on geo-strategic trends, Mukherjee described the current world order as that of “general un-alignment - a de-hyphenation of relationships, and re-engagement amongst several major powers in informal alliances to deal with issues on the basis of convergence of interests”.

He felt that no power today was involved in exclusive circles or “asks us to limit ties with others”.

“Indeed, increased cooperation with one power opens the doors further with others. For the first time in India’s independent history, we are now on an upward spiral of improving relations with all major powers,” said Mukherjee.

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