As the government braces for a fierce debate on the Indo-US nuclear deal in the Winter session of Parliament, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday made a strong pitch for development of nuclear energy to support the country’s economic development. Mukherjee, however, did not make any specific reference to the civil nuclear cooperation deal with the United States.
The government has stalled the next steps for the operationalisation of the landmark 123 Agreement for civil nuclear collaboration with the United States pending a settlement on the issue with its Left allies. "Unfortunately we are dependent only on hydrocarbons to meet our growing energy needs. We need a multi-pronged strategy, including development of nuclear energy," Mukherjee said, in an address at the 42nd foundation day of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Observing that India was destined to become a global power, he said, there was a need to take a holistic view of the foreign policy and security challenges facing the nation.
Defence Minister AK Antony, also speaking at the event, said, “The challenge is to keep pace with these technological changes is more pronounced than ever before. The choice before us is clear – either let events shape us, or enhance our ability to shape events.”