Opposition to Indo-US nuke deal unfortunate: NSA

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (UNI) The Government today termed as ''unfortunate'' the opposition within the country to the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying it was driven by ''other considerations'' and called for an early end to the ongoing stalemate on the agreement.

''The opposition within the country is unfortunately driven by considerations other than those relating to the proliferation of nuclear weapons,'' National Security Advisor (NSA) M K Narayanan said while delivering the 25th Air Marshal P C Lal Memorial Lecture.

The NSA was apparently referring to the Left parties' opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal.

He said the absence of a political consensus on the deal within the country was a ''major handicap'' in India's efforts to become a part of nuclear mainstream.

''The impasse has 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.'' Mr Narayanan 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.

He said India's strategic nuclear weapons programme has ''nothing to do'' with the Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation.

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.

The NSA said India already has close relationship with countries such as Russia and France in the nuclear power sector.

UNI AG PK RK2307

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