N-deal, NSG waiver good for country: Kalam

September 7th, 2008 - 10:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has said the India-US nuclear agreement and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver were good for the country but New Delhi may break its “voluntary moratorium” on further nuclear tests in “supreme national interest”.Kalam made it clear that if the need arose, “India will do the test in the supreme national interest and nobody can stop it”, and stressed that when it comes to national interest all political parties must come together.

“Well, you see, supreme national interest, OK, every country got supreme national interest, any pact or any treaty; when the national interest comes in, it becomes the highest priority,” Kalam told the NDTV channel in an interview telecast Sunday evening.

The former president made it clear that the NSG waiver and the India-US nuclear deal were good as they will serve the “national interest”.

“This is going to help - this nuclear waiver and the nuclear pact is going to help us to graduate from the nuclear security to nuclear independence,” Kalam said.

“I believe this waiver from the NSG and the pact - India-USA nuclear pact - is going to help, going to assist the nation in many ways,” said Kalam, who was also a key player in the Pokhran II nuclear tests and is known as India’s “missile man”.

On Saturday, the 45-member NSG, the powerful cartel that controls global supply of nuclear fuel and technology, awarded a waiver to India that ended its three-decade long nuclear isolation and opened the doors for commerce to begin between New Delhi and the Group members.

The prolonged negotiations at the NSG that went on for over 76 hours in Vienna ended after it reached a consensus on the India specific waiver Saturday.

But one of the elements that convinced sceptics in the NSG was External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s Friday statement reaffirming India’s commitment to the “voluntary moratorium” on further tests.

“I believe when you say, when you declare moratorium for nuclear test, what does this mean - you have built certain capability and you can build certain types of nuclear weapons with that confidence you said - I will not conduct any more test,” Kalam said.

“Suppose India decides it has to go for supreme sovereign interest, that means international situation made the nation to do a test. If it has to do a test, then the question comes in - now there is a pact we have, they can see the reason why the international situation they are forcing us to do the test,” he argued.

“Well then the waiver, the pact may stay or the second thing is they may withdraw. But the national interest is always the highest priority,” he added.

“They (the international community) may still understand; they may see why you have done the test. There is a reason why we have done the test. Otherwise, they’ll say goodbye, and we’ll say goodbye,” he said in his first reaction to the NSG waiver.

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