'Nuke deal can't secure India's power sector'

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Agartala, Feb 20: Senior BJP leader and former union minister Murli Manohar Joshi today lambasted the UPA government for their arguments of ensuring energy security of the country through the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Talking to UNI here, Dr Joshi said, ''This deal can secure 10 per cent of India's energy demand after at least ten years and since I am a student of Physics I can assure you the cost of per unit nuclear energy will by Rs 10 from the nuclear reactors.'' Dr Joshi said if the nuclear deal is struck under the framework of existing bilateral understanding, India would be forced to cede its territorial sovereignty and completely surrender its space achievements to the US with totally delinked energy security from the deal.

He called for formation of a forum in which the elected representatives of the people and the intelligentsia should be taken to oppose the deal and force the government to review it in a manner that could adequately safeguard India's legitimate interests.

''Once this deal is concluded we are bound by it and constrained in making nuclear weapons. Pakistan, a rogue state, is not (constrained) since it has not concluded the treaty, nor Israel, neither North Korea,'' Dr Joshi pointed out.

He said a group of retired senior scientists from the Department of Atomic Energy, which was instrumental in the development of nuclear technology in India, had recently voiced apprehension that the modifications made by the US Congress to the Bush-Singh agreement would infringe on India's 'independence in carrying out R&D in nuclear science and technology' and also put restraints on India's 'nuclear option as a strategic requirement'.

Moreover, the proposed deal would open the employment opportunity for US scientists and experts and subsequent reduction of jobs for Indians. ''At the same time, India will have to surrender it's sovereign nuclear policy to America,'' Dr Joshi stated.

He maintained that the BJP would not allow Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to lease India's interest because the deal was basically removing the nuclear commerce and related technological denial regimes placed on India since 1974.

''Consequently India's strategic anxiety would grow since it would be the permanent outsider in the major power grid and denied access to nuclear fuel and, contrary to popular perception, neither Russia nor France would be able to step in,'' he said.

Dr Joshi added that the vision of harnessing thorium would remain a mirage and India's overall energy security options adversely affected, thereby resulting in a negative impact on economic growth.


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