Consensus lacking on Indo-US nuke deal: NSA

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (UNI) The Government today said India's effort to come out of the isolation resulted in the Indo-US nuclear deal and noted that the ''outside'' opposition to the agreement stemmed from the view that New Delhi should be denied access to nuclear energy.

Delivering the 25th Air Marshal P C Lal Memorial Lecture here, National Security Advisor M K Narayanan said India's strategic nuclear weapons programme had ''nothing to do'' with the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation.

He said the absence of a political consensus on the deal within the country was a ''major handicap'' and the impasse had resulted in the matter being put on hold.

''This needs to be resolved as soon as possible. We only seek to enlarge our energy needs'' The NSA said the IAEA safeguard agreement and exemptions from the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG) were tied up.

The conclusion of the 123 Agreement would pave the way for India to engage in nuclear commerce, he added.

Mr Narayanan said that to meet the energy demand of the growing economy, nuclear and non-conventional sources of energy had to be tapped and the agreement with the US and discussions with other countries in this regard should be seen in this perspective. ''Energy is a major strength and there is need to intensify search for other sources as well,'' he added.

UNI AG PK KN2213

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