On Pokhran anniversary, Kalam reiterates support for n-dealMay 11th, 2008 - 10:33 pm ICT by admin
Mumbai, May 11 (IANS) Reiterating his support for the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Sunday said it will open the doors for uranium supplies to fuel-starved domestic power reactors. “We need the uranium supply and definitely the pact is important if we want to meet the target of the contribution of nuclear energy in the total energy production,” Kalam said at a function at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) here to mark the 10th anniversary of India’s second nuclear tests - the Pokhran II tests.
Kalam had first publicly stated his support for the nuclear deal in an exclusive interview to IANS Friday.
He had said India should go ahead with the nuclear deal as it does not compromise the country’s sovereignty. “If at any time there is a fear that national security would be compromised by going ahead with the deal, we can at any time withdraw (from it),” he had told IANS.
A day later, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed the hope that the country would heed Kalam’s advice.
“We hope the country will listen to the voice of wisdom,” Manmohan Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a civil investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The former president’s consistent support is all the more significant as he was also the chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), when India exploded five nuclear devices at Pokhran May 11 and 13, 1998.
He was elected the country’s president during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime led by the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP).
The BJP, now in opposition, is fighting tooth and nail, along with the UPA government’s Left allies, against the Indo-US nuclear deal claiming that it will undermine India’s sovereignty.
At the BARC function, Kalam reminded that the Department of Atomic Energy has to increase the installed capacity of nuclear energy from the current 3,900 MW to 24,000 MW by 2020.
“Our uranium reserves are limited. We will need a certain amount of uranium to attain the next stage in the fuel cycle producing energy on thorium which is available in abundance in India,” he said.