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N-deal: PM seeks Germany's support

Manmohan has expressed optimism that Germany would respond positively to India's energy requirements.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2006 14:24 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed optimism that Germany would respond positively to India's energy requirements by extending support to the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

In an interview with German weekly Die Handelsblatt, Dr Singh said nuclear energy will help India meet its growing energy requirements. "If our requirements for oil and gas increase, it will exercise enormous pressure on the World market price and increase competition for diminishing reserves," he added.

"I hope we will be able to convince Germany to look at this issue for mutual benefit," Dr Singh said.

Germany has expressed reservations on the Indo-US deal while France, Russia and the UK have extended full support.

The Prime Minister regretted protectionist policies of the West and said the World trade system continues to damage emerging countries. Agricultural protectionism, especially in the EU and the US, deprives us of export opportunities, he added.

"We know that developing countries cannot shape the world trade system freely in accordance with their needs. We should therefore use all available opportunities. At the same time, the Doha Round should become a real development round. This is a litmus test whether old protectionism will raise its head. This will hinder our progress and also adversely affect the rest of the World," Dr Singh said.

When asked whether India and China, the two Asian giants, would become rivals over the long term, Dr Singh said, "We do not view China as a rival, but as a friend. The World is big enough to accommodate the growth ambitions of both the countries".

He acknowledged that India and China were making progress regarding resolution of the boundary issue. "Cooperation between the two most populous and fast growing economies is important for peace in the region and the world," he added.

He said the Indian economy was growing at an average rate of six per cent. In the next five years, India is set to achieve a growth rate of 10 per cent, he added.

He said investment rate would soon grow to 35 to 36 per cent. "We need such a growth that we are able to create sufficient number of jobs and generate resources for investing in infrastructure, health, education and environment, he said.

Referring to defence ties with Germany, Dr Singh said, "India is keen to diversify the sources for defence equipment. In the past, India has cooperated with Germany in this field, but there are enormous possibilities for expanding this cooperation further," Dr Singh said.