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'Propaganda against N-deal totally false'

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the N-accord will have no impact on India's strategic interests.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2007 17:12 IST

Rubbishing the "propaganda" against the "historic" Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the agreement will have no impact on the country's strategic interests or foreign policy but was important to maintain economic growth.

Apparently referring to the concerns of Left allies, Singh told the AICC session in New Delhi that there are "doubts and misgivings in many minds" about the agreement.

"I would like to say that the propaganda that is being made that this nuclear deal will any way hurt our strategic programme is totally false," he said deviating from the text of his prepared speech.

"I have stated repeatedly on several occasions that this agreement concerns only civilian side of nuclear energy and that it will have no bearing on the strategic and security programme, which will remain intact without any international interference," Singh said.

He said the "propaganda" that it would affect "our sense of judgement and independence of our foreign policy is equally false."

Citing the country's strong heritage, the Prime Minister said "nobody can bend India in any direction".

Singh underlined that the Indo-US deal will enhance the prospects of increasing the production of nuclear power, which is necessary for maintaining the economic growth.

"If we see the pace at which our economy is growing, it becomes apparent that we will have to expand our power generation capacity on a massive scale," he said.

Observing that it will be "impossible" to fulfill the country's needs solely through thermal and hydro electric power, Singh said "we need to locate new sources of energy if we want to maintain our growth rate and eliminate poverty. One possible source is nuclear power."

He said the "route" of using nuclear energy has "so far been closed" and the Indo-US agreement "is an effort to open closed doors so that we can obtain nuclear fuel and technology from other countries, such as the US, Russia and France and remove shortage of electricity in the country."

The Prime Minister asked the partymen to "understand this reality" and explain it to the people of the country.