New Delhi, Aug.15 : The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, on Friday described the signing of the US-India civil nuclear cooperation as a step to end India's nuclear isolation internationally.
Candidly admitting that the country was facing a grave shortage of energy, Dr. Singh said that his government was now moving forward on the deal, in spite of facing major difficulties from various quarters.
"The nuclear agreement that we are negotiating with developed countries will end India's nuclear isolation. It will open up new opportunities for trade in dual-use high technologies and nuclear materials and equipment, opening up new pathways to accelerate industrialization of our country. It will enable us to provide electricity to meet the needs of our farmers, our artisans, our traders and our industry," he said.
"We must apply modern science and technology to find long term solutions to our energy problem. Our crude oil and gas reserves are limited. We must find alternative energy sources. I would like our scientists and engineers to find ways in which we can make better use of solar energy, wind energy, biogas and other sources of energy," he added.
He said that with the availability of adequate energy, the Indian economy could achieve its objective of growing at the rate of at least ten per cent every year to get rid of poverty and generate employment for all.
This, he said, was a basic requirement for sustained growth, and for the development of our agriculture and industry.
"All over the world, there is growing realization of the importance of atomic energy to meet the challenge of energy security and climate change. It is a clean, environmental friendly and renewable source of energy. India's atomic scientists and technologists are world class. They have developed nuclear energy capacities despite heavy odds," Dr. Singh said.
However, he cautioned that there were handicaps that have adversely affected the country's atomic energy programme.
"We have inadequate production of uranium. The quality of our uranium resources is not comparable to those of other producers. Many countries have imposed sanctions on trade with India in nuclear materials, nuclear equipment and nuclear technology. As a result, our nuclear energy programme has suffered," Dr. Singh said.