Nuke deal on; Arunachal integral part of India: Pranab

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New Delhi, Mar 3: External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today reaffirmed the need for going ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal and clarified that New Delhi had 'clearly conveyed' to China that Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India.

Making a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha on foreign-policy related developments during the inter-session period, Mr Mukherjee said the deal was necessary to end the three-decade-long isolation of India from the international nuclear trade. The UPA government would continue to seek a broad political consensus within the country to take forward the nuclear issue, he said.

Negotiations were on with the International Atomic Energy Agency to arrive at an agreed text of an India-specific safeguards agreement to operationalise the Indo-US nuclear deal and have similar cooperation with other countries, he said.

''The conclusion of such an agreement will enable the Nuclear Suppliers Group to amend its guidelines for civil nuclear commerce in favour of India.
''This will open the door to civil nuclear cooperation with various countries, including Russia, USA, France, UK etc with many of whom the necessary enabling bilateral agreements for such trade have been discussed and are in various stages of finalisation,'' the Minister said.

This development would signify, finally, an end to the unfair technology denial regimes and sanctions that India has been faced with for over three decades.

Allaying apprehensions over the US Hyde Act, he said this was an enabling provision that was between the excutive and the legislative organs of the US government. India's rights and obligations regarding civil nuclear cooperation with the US would arise only from the bilateral 123 Agreement that ''we have agreed upon with the US.''

Mr Mukherjee said the recent visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Arunachal Pradesh was to assure the people of that state that the government was mindful of their developmental needs and was ready to assist them through concrete projects. Chinese officials had expressed regret over the visit when the boundary dispute was under discussion, but New Delhi had ''clearly conveyed'' to Beijing that Arunachal Pradesh was an integral part of India, he said.

Clarifying that he was apprising the House of the developments since the conclusion of the winter session in December, he said the government had made vigorous efforts to promote the country's objective of an external environment that would enable India's accelerated development and enhance its strategic importance.

''The government would continue its efforts to develop close political, social and economic relations with the countries of our region and with all the major powers of the world, so as to add to our ability to pursue our independent foreign policy as dictated by our national interest,'' he said.

The Minister reiterated India's stand on its relations with its neighbours and other countries.

UNI

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