Seeking international cooperation in its efforts for a major expansion in the nuclear programme, India on Wednesday said benefits of atomic energy should not remain confined to a "privileged few" as it was vital to meet power requirements of developing countries.
"We need the concerted and collective efforts of the international community to promote peaceful uses of nuclear energy as widely as possible," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a function where IAEA chief Mohammad ElBaradei was conferred the coveted Indira Gandhi Peace Prize.
He said India is now poised for a major expansion of its nuclear programme in which international cooperation will be an important component.
Noting that nuclear energy was vital to meeting the energy and development needs of developing countries like India, he said, "Its benefits should not remain confined to a privileged few."
Singh cautioned that the growth of nuclear energy must go hand in hand with measures to reduce and eliminate risks of misuse.
He said efforts should be made to strengthen public trust and confidence in issues related to nuclear safety and security.
Presenting the Rs 25 lakh prize, President Pratibha Patil said "India's long standing commitment to universal, non- discriminatory and comprehensive nuclear disarmament is well known. This commitment stands undiluted and undiminished."