India has not accepted cap on nuclear capability: PM
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India has not accepted cap on nuclear capability: PM

Replying to debate over nuke deal in LS, he said Govt has taken "full care" to protect India's strategic programme.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2006 17:51 IST

India has not not accepted a cap on its strategic nuclear capability while entering into the civilian nuclear deal with the US, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared in the Lok Sabha on Saturday.

Replying to a day-long discussion on the nuclear accord, Singh also declared that "we will not not forego the three stage programme which will enable us to utilise the vast thorium reserves in future".

The Prime Minister said through the deal the government has "widened development options for meeting the adequate energy needs of the country" and has taken "full care" that the strategic programme is protected.

"It is a step forward which will take the country on a higher growth and development trajectory," he said adding that research and development opportunities will also not be adversely affected due to the Indo-US agreement.

The Prime Minister said the US has given a number of assurances for uninteruppted supply of nuclear material for use in civilian reactors but in case of any stoppage the country has the "right to take corrective measures".

He also assured the House that the confidentiality of the strategic programme has remained "fully protected and will remain fully protected".

On the issue of closure of CIRUS reactor located in BARC, which has been declared a strategic site where no foreign inspection would be allowed, Singh said that only the fuel core of other nuclear reactor APSARA would be shifted and not the reactor itself.

This was because the BARC was an institution of "high national security importance and will not be allowed any international inspection", he said.

While protecting and safeguarding India's military programme, Singh said the country would maintain a credible minimum nuclear deterent.

The Prime Minister said that India had not agreed to any formula or proposal which would amount to a cap on its nuclear programme.

Besides, he said, "full care" has been taken while deciding what constituted minimum credible deterent and had taken the advise of nuclear scientist and armed forces in this regard.

"We have ensured present requirements and future requirements about the supplies (of nuclear fuel) as humanly possible," Singh said.

On the separation plan, the Prime Minister said it has to be India specific keeping in view the fact that India is not part of NPT and was also not a non-nuclear state.

The Prime Minister said India's status as a nuclear weapon state has been implicitly recognised by the international community.

"Our safeguards cannot be a carbon copy of model I or II. It has to be a unique safeguards agreement with IAEA," he said.

India, he said, will offer a list of facilities to the IAEA for putting civilian reactors under safeguards and will not withdraw any material from them for use in the military programme.

He also assured the House that while forging strategic relations with US, India has not forgotten its strategic relations with other countries like Russia, France and China and the country's ties with them were "warmer and stronger".

Singh said the Indo-US deal has been pursuant to India's enlighteed national interest and also the importance of having adequate civilian nuclear energy.

The Prime Minister said that besides the deal, there was also a knowledge initiative in the field of agricutlure which would help India to technologically upgrade agricutlure extension services.

Noting that US agriculture scientist Norman Borlaug had helped India to usher in the Green Revolution, the Prime Minister said agriculture production has reached a plateau and India needed a second Green Revolution and the agreement in the farm field would help the country in that process.

First Published: Mar 11, 2006 17:06 IST