New Delhi, Nov 6: The government today said that the Indo-US nuke deal, if operationalised, will open up huge possibilities for the growth of nuclear energy in the country.
''We are exploring the possibilities of civil nuclear cooperation and, if we succeed, it would open up immense possibilities for the growth of nuclear energy thereby strengthening energy security for the country,'' External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said while addressing the first India-Africa Hydrocarbon Conference here.
Reiterating India's high resolve for attaining energy security as a matter of national importance, the minister said prospects are being relentlessly explored for sourcing energy from country's neighbourhood and beyond.
He said the newly created Energy Security Unit in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) would maintain close coordination with other ministries concerned as well as public and private corporate entities to support their international engagement through appropriate diplomatic intervention.
''We need to expand our current primary energy supply levels by three to four times and electricity generation by five to six times in the next two and half decades to sustain the high growth levels required to attain the developmental goals and eradicate poverty,'' the minister said.
He underlined that the task of investing in overseas energy assets has therefore become an important aspect of our economic diplomacy.
''The possibility of bilateral cooperation in the downstream sectors, petrochemicals, non-conventional energy and joint ventures are constantly being explored with various resource-rich countries,'' Mr Mukerjee added.
India, he said, was increasingly looking at taking forward its partnership with Africa as the country was a natural market for Africa's rich hydrocarbon resources.
Prospects for cooperation with African nations have received a boost with a surge in investments by Indian companies in countries such as Libya, Sudan, Nigeria, Egypt and Gabon over the past few years, he said.
India stands ready to share its experience with its African partners in the hydrocarbon sector, from exploration to distribution through refining, storage and transportation.