Strongly defending his government's decision to pursue the Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said the agreement would end India's nuclear isolation and open up new pathways for industrialisation of the country.
"The nuclear agreement that we are negotiating with developed countries will end India's nuclear isolation. It will open up new opportunities for trade in dual-use technologies, opening up new pathways to accelerate industrialisation of our country," Singh said delivering his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort in New Delhi.
"It (the agreement) will enable us to provide electricity to meet the needs of our farmers, our artisans, our traders and our industry," Singh said.
As the nuclear agreement awaits clearance from the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the US Congress before it could come into effect, the PM, highlighting the handicaps adversely affecting India's atomic energy programme, said the nation had inadequate uranium production and the quality of uranium resources was not comparable to those of other producers.
"Many countries have imposed sanctions on trade with India in nuclear materials, nuclear equipment and nuclear technology. As a result, our nuclear energy programme has suffered," he said.
Appreciating India's atomic scientists and technologies as being world class, Singh said they have developed nuclear energy capacities despite heavy odds.
Touching upon the issue of the country's limited crude oil and gas reserves, Singh said "We must find alternative energy sources. I would like our scientists and engineers to find ways in which we can make better use of solar energy, wind energy, bio-gas and other sources of energy."
The Prime Minister also called for the application of modern science and technology to find long-term solutions to India's energy problem.
"Our economy must grow at the rate of at least 10 per cent every year to get rid of poverty and generate employment for all. A basic requirement for sustained growth, and for the development of our agriculture and industry is availability of energy, particularly electricity," he added.
Stating that there was growing realisation of the importance of atomic energy to meet the challenge of energy security and climate change, Singh favoured nuclear power, saying "It is a clean, environment-friendly and renewable source of energy."