Indo-US nuke deal vital for India's strategic interests: PM

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New Delhi, June 11 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the Indo-US nuclear deal which has ''run into some difficulties'' is vital for India's ''strategic interests'' and energy security.

Addressing probationers of Indian Foreign Service (IFS) at his official residence here, Dr Singh also spoke at length on the threat of terrorism, pointing out that there were still states which were sometimes actively backing the terrorist elements. ''I think this gives our national security a new dimension.'' He said the nuclear deal was crucial for ending nuclear apartheid against India and hoped progress would be made in the months ahead.

The agreement would open up new possibilities of cooperation not only with the US but also with other nuclear powers like Russia and France.

''This nuclear agreement that we signed with the US has run into some difficulties, but it protects our national interest, it protects our capacity to use the nuclear power to protect our strategic interests,'' he said.

In the absence of the deal, ''I think, the trade in dual technologies -- sensitive advanced technologies -- cannot become a reality,'' he said.

On the growing menace of terrorism, he said: ''There are still States who are sometimes actively backing the terrorist elements, and that there is a growing importance of the non-State actors in areas relating to terror. I think this gives our national security a new dimension.'' He said there was a growing fear that the security of nations could be threatened by nuclear weapons and sensitive technologies falling into the hands of terrorist elements.

''All this we have to conscious of, we have to handle our approach to dealing with these global issues in a manner which will project and protect our national interest,'' he added.

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