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Home > News > Report

'IAEA safeguards will confer N-status to India'

March 11, 2006 18:41 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday assured Parliament that the Separation Plan under the Indo-US nuclear deal would not adversely affect India's strategic programme to maintain a minimum credible nuclear deterrence.

New Delhi would continue to seek the status of a nuclear weapons state while finalising the India-specific safeguards for its civilian facilities with the International Atomic Energy Agency, he told both houses.

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"India will not accept the safeguards meant for non-nuclear weapon states which were signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," Dr Singh said, while replying to day-long debates on the Indo-US nuclear deal in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

The five nuclear weapon states, which were permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, had signed safeguard agreements with the IAEA according to their respective requirements. India would negotiate a safeguards agreement on these lines, Dr Singh said.

He, however, clarified that the safeguards were yet to be negotiated and as such it would be difficult to spell out its 'contours and details'.

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Allaying apprehensions of various members over India's acceptance of perpetual safeguards for its civilian facilities, the prime minister said it should be viewed in the context of the proposed perpetual nuclear fuel supply by the suppliers group.

The deal provided for India taking 'corrective measures' in the eventuality of any interruption in nuclear material supplies, he said, implying that the inspections would also be stopped simultaneously.

The deal was aimed at using one of the options for ensuring India's energy security, which was imperative for increasing economic growth from the present 7-8 per cent to close to 10 per cent. For achieving 10 per cent GDP growth every year, the energy requirements would go up by a corresponding proportion and this could not be met by conventional sources alone.

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The rising oil prices in the international market and the low quality of coal available within the country had forced the government to look for alternatives and nuclear fuel was one of these, Dr Singh said.

He assured the nation and the scientific community that the deal would not hinder the defence programme or research and development work in the nuclear field.

The prime minister also assured the House that Indo-US relations were being strengthened not at the cost of New Delhi's 'traditional strategic' partners like Russia or even France or China, with which another round of talks to resolve the vexed boundary dispute began on Saturday.

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"Our scientists would be provided with state-of-the-art facilities to expand the nuclear programme," Dr Singh said.

In his spirited 40-minute reply, he said India would not forego its three-stage nuclear programme under the deal or allow it to come in the way of using its abundant thorium resources for generating power in future.

The United Progressive Alliance government's discussions with the US pertained only to those nuclear facilities, which were being offered for safeguards. The discussions did not cover the 'strategic programme which has been and will remain fully protected,' he asserted.

The deal was merely a step forward to get our country to move on a higher growth trajectory, he said.

About the proposed closure of CIRUS and the shifting of the core of Apsara, both at the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre at Mumbai, the prime minister said this was being done to prevent the IAEA inspectors to have access to the other facilities at BARC, which had greater strategic significance for the country.

He also clarified that the Apsara reactor would continue to remain at BARC. The perceived high cost involved in the shifting of the core of Apsara would be more than be made up by the benefits arising from the production of isotopes, the prime minister said.

He said the scientific community had assured him that the two moves would not affect the strategic programme.

Dismissing the charge that only the US stood to gain from the deal as it wanted to sell nuclear fuel to India, Dr Singh agreed that the interests of the two countries did not converge on several issues, but it was not so in the case of the nuclear deal.

He also assured the members that the deal was not a compromise on India's independent foreign policy. "I have said on more than one occasion that our foreign policy is rooted in our civilization heritage and enlightened national interest would continue to guide India in strengthening its relations with other countries," he said.

"US is a global power. Their interests always do not converge with ours, but there are occasions when our interests do converge and the deal was one such instance," Dr Singh said.

Pointing out that the deal was just one aspect of Indo-US relations, he said the agreement on agriculture, which was also signed during the March 1-3 visit of US President George W Bush, would provide better technologies to India and this would be of great help in ushering in a second green revolution in the country to raise the stagnant productivity.

Another major area of bilateral cooperation would bring in private capital investment from the US that the Indian corporates have been looking for all these years. India accepted to go for nuclear separation when Bush pointed out that this was necessary to convince the NSG to provide fuel to New Delhi, he said.


UNI


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Number of User Comments: 4




Sub: HAPPY WORLD HAPPY INDIA

NUCLEAR DIARMAMENT ,NO WORLD WAR PLEASE


Posted by Rakesh l kantharia





Sub: PM's espousal of Indo-US nuclear Agreement and ''natinal Interest''

PKL. Sunday , the12th March ,2006. Reading objectively what the PM hoped to materialize in the wake of this agreement with US if approved by ...


Posted by Dharmendra Goel





Sub: N Deal

This was a very good article


Posted by Vamsi





Sub: INDO-US-NUKE DEAL

Congratulations to Mr.Prime Minister and your team for exhibiting true culture of Indian Leadership of not compromising on national interests.Be it Pt.Nehru,Mrs Indira Gandhi,Mr.Rajiv Gandhi,Mr.Narsimha ...


Posted by Manvendu Kumar




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