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'The developed must lead in disarmament'

world Updated: Apr 26, 2007 19:45 IST

President APJ Abdul Kalam says that the initiative for complete nuclear disarmament should come from those countries that have amassed weapons of mass destruction.

Reiterating New Delhi's policy for nuclear non-proliferation and the "no first use" commitment, President Kalam said that while India was a nuclear power, nuclear energy was mostly used for peaceful, civilian purposes in sectors such as power generation and healthcare. "Only a small proportion is diverted for defence weapons", Dr Kalam said.

Kalam was speaking at a banquet hosted by the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karlos Populias in Greece.

Responding to the controversy raked up in New Delhi on the issue of human trafficking, President Populias did not rule out the possibility of discussing the matter with his Indian counterpart and referred to the matter as a "disgrace to society". India and the Hellenic Republic can make joint efforts to fight this scourge, said President Populias - while expressing the confidence that the issue could be effectively tackled.

On the Iran question, Kalam said that Tehran's use of nuclear energy must be for peaceful purposes.

Agreements on business protection and promotion and science cooperation on science and technology were also signed on Thursday between the two countries. "As a result of our joint efforts, our bilateral trade volume has grown to US $620 million and both countries can work to increase this figure to over $1.25 billion by 2010", President Kalam said in his banquet speech.

Concrete opportunities exist for cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure development, shipping, tourism and information technology, Kalam said - while referring to the contribution of the "small but growing community of Indians" to the Greek economy.

Earlier, in his address to the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), President Kalam expressed the confidence that India and Greece - in conjunction with the European Union - would collaborate in giving a scientific outlook to policy making. "The centuries of learning from different civilizations like India and Greece should enable us to formulate ideas and systems to bring prosperity and reduce disparities," he said.

Quoting Plato and Saint Thiruvallur among other past scholars, President Kalam said that India and Greece have unique responsibilities in radiating the thinking process to the world for providing an integrated path for peace and prosperity of nations.