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Kalam calls for energy independence

The President suggested development of nuclear power using thorium which is abundantly available at home.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 17:14 IST

With complexity gripping talks between India and the US on the nuclear deal, President APJ Abdul Kalam has said energy independence should be the country's top priority and suggested development of nuclear power using thorium which is abundantly available at home.

"Nuclear power generation has been given a thrust by the use of uranium-based fuel (which US is set to supply to India if the deal comes through). However, there would be a requirement for ten-fold increase in nuclear power generation even to attain a reasonable degree of energy self-sufficiency for our country," Kalam said at the Asiatic Society gathering in Manila on Sunday night.

"Therefore, it is essential to pursue the development of nuclear power using thorium reserves which are abundant in the country," he said adding "technology development has to be accelerated for thorium-based reactors".

Kalam said one of the two pillars on which energy security rests is securing access to all sources of energy.

At the same time "we should access technologies to provide a diverse supply of reliable, affordable and environmentally sustainable energy," he said.

"India must achieve the real goal -- that is Energy Independence or an economy which will function well within total freedom from oil, gas or coal imports," Kalam said.

"Hence, energy independence has to be India's top priority and highest priority. We must be determined to achieve this within the next 25 years, that is by the year 2030 -- a 25-year national mission must be formulated, funds guaranteed and leadership entrusted without delay," the President said.

He also urged banks to come out with financial support for these programmes.

Kalam said that while energy security, which means ensuring India getting its citizens a supply of lifeline energy at affordable costs, is a very important need, "it must be considered as a transition strategy" as the "real goal is energy independence".

Setting a target of around $200 billion by 2008 for India's market share in IT services, IT enabled services and Business Process Outsourcing, Kalam said the target was an achievable one.

"Since our university system is contributing over three million graduates every year, this is a vital resource needed for growth in the IT services, IT enabled services and BPO," he said.

According to Kalam, India needed infrastructural establishments like IT parks, including call centres in large numbers, to achieve its goal.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 08:58 IST