India isolated from nuclear coop for decades: Pranab

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New Delhi, Feb 28: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said India had been virtually isolated from cooperation from the Nuclear Suppliers Group(NSG) for decades during which the country was denied access to advanced and dual use technology.

The assertion came in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha to a question whether he had made a statement in Kolkata that India would be isolated if it did not sign the civilian nuclear agreement with the United States. The Minister said that while addressing the Kolkata Chamber of Commerce early this month in an extempore remark he had stated that India had not been able to enter into nuclear materials and technology trade with the 45-member NSG as their guidelines prevented them from extending nuclear cooperation with the country because it was not a signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Tready (NPT).

Asked if the government had moved forward on safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mr Mukherjee said negotiations on India-specific safeguards agreement were ongoing with the IAEA.

To a question of Mr Bal Apte and Mr Sreegopal Vyas if Pakistan had tailored its nuclear doctrine keeping only India in mind, Mr Mukherjee said Pakistan had not issued a comprehensive nuclear doctrine but its officials on various occasions had stated that the direction of their nuclear weapons programme will be determined by India's actions.

Asked if India would keep these factors in mind while fixing priorities for nuclear deals, the Minister said all agreements on civil nuclear cooperation with third countries currently under discussion do not concern India's strategic programme.

UNI

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