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'India could face isolation if N-deal not through'

EAM Pranab Mukherjee also says India and the IAEA are yet to find a common ground on the draft safeguards agreement.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2008 20:22 IST

In the wake of stiff Left opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal, the government on Sunday cautioned if the pact was derailed the country could face international "isolation".

"If the agreement is not through, we could have to face isolation and possibly isolation in sanction too," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said inaugurating the 176th Annual General Meeting of the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata.

Mukherjee said India and the global atomic watchdog IAEA were yet to find a common ground on the draft safeguards agreement necessary to operationalise the civilian nuclear deal with the US and discussions were still on.

After finalising the draft pact, the Congress-led government would place it before the UPA-Left panel to get a political go ahead for the deal that aims to bring India out of nuclear wilderness, Mukherjee said.

He said the agreements on civil nuclear cooperation with various countries would in particular "help in increasing the share of civil nuclear power in our energy mix" and ensure energy security.

"My ministry is aware of these challenges and are making all attempts by focusing on bilateral and multilateral engagements for cooperation with source countries," he said.

Mukherjee said once problems on energy front were resolved, there would not be any problem achieving a sustainable growth at about ten per cent in the 11th Plan.

Observing that the country faced unprecedented challenge in the form of ensuring its energy security, he said "we have to depend to a large extent on import of hydro carbon and other fossil fuels for meeting energy needs".

Describing oil prices averaging at 100 US dollar a barrel as a drag on the country's resources that could have gone for more productive purposes, Mukherjee said, "Our energy needs will grow in keeping with our projected economic growth. The way out is by investing to build future assets in energy".