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There is hope yet on nuke deal: Manmohan Singh

Blaming domestic politics, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the Indo-US civil nuclear deal has run into some difficulties, report HT Correspondents.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 12, 2008 01:02 AM IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday blamed “domestic politics” for preventing his government from going ahead with the India-US civil nuclear deal that would have ended India’s nuclear apartheid.

But Singh, and later his External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, made it clear they hadn’t given up hope.

“As I see it, this nuclear agreement that we signed with the US has run into some difficulties. But it protects our national interest, it protects our capacity to use the nuclear power to protect our strategic interests,” the Prime Minister told Indian Foreign Service probationers who called on him on Wednesday, outlining the challenges and priorities for the diplomatic corp.

Singh said that energy security would emerge as the major source of interplay for forces in the evolving world economy and pointed to China going around the world, in Africa and Latin America, to invest, explore and developing the natural resources for increased oil production.

“This agreement, if it materialises, if it sees the light of the day, will open up new possibilities of cooperation, not only with the US but all other nuclear powers like Russia (and) France, who are very keen that once we have this deal through, that India should become eligible for civil nuclear cooperation,” Singh said.

“I still continue to hope that we will make progress in the months that lie ahead,” Singh said.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told journalists that the next meeting of the UPA-Left panel would be held on June 18, to break the deadlock. “Let us wait for that,” the minister said.

“India’s proven resources of coal, oil, gas and hydropower are insufficient to meet our estimated requirement,” the foreign minister said at the release of former Ambassador Ranjit Singh Kalha’s book The Ultimate Prize: Oil and Saddam’s Iraq.

“In my view, nuclear power appears to offer India the most potent means to realize its long term energy security,” he said.

Given the oil price scenario, he stressed the need for expanding the country’s energy basket to meet its deficit in requirement.

Even if hydropower potential and renewable energy together with coal were exploited to the maximum extent and in the shortest possible timeframe, these would only be adequate to meet India’s short and medium term requirements, he observed.

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