'India will be a super-power, thanks to N-deal'

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New Delhi, Apr 9: Leading industrialist and Assocham President Venugopal N Dhoot said the country should accord the Indo-US Nuclear Agreement to achieve nine-ten per cent growth rate in the next ten years.

''The country should ink the 123 agreement with the US. We need to have good relations with the US to achieve the nine-ten per cent growth rate in the next decade,'' he said at the release of Assocham publication--Liberating India from Technology Denial Regime-Indo US Nuclear Agreement yesterday. Mr Venugopal, who is also Videocon Industries Ltd Chairman and Managing Director, said the country require the US support to become a super power economy by 2020. The study by Assocham said, ''The US is willing to consider such a major initiative because India has emerged as a giant economy, a stable democracy and a responsible nuclear weapons power. Therefore, India should approach this initiative as a larger opening to international community on nuclear energy.''

Mr Dhoot said the deal would help India achieve its nuclear power generation capacities and encourage nuclear innovations and obtaining of quicker licensing with simpler and safer construction techniques and extension of reactor life.

However Communist Party of India (CPI) National Secretary D Raja, who was present at the occasion, opposed this view and sought a fresh negotiation on the issue of Indo-US Nuclear Agreement.

He said that the US sees India as a 'big market' and therefore is in haste to seal the pact.

''The deal is threat to the country's independent foreign policies and will have direct impact on the national security,'' he added.

The study points out that in the United States, which draws 21 per cent of its electricity from nuclear energy, more than 40 reactors have obtained life extension approval.

Application for new reactors are receiving legislative encouragement from the US congress, which is advocating subsidies for new technologies.

France, which draws 78 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power, remains committed to its continued promotion, the study said.

The UK, after years of inaction has once again signaled its intention of building new reactors and is even discussing a larger industry partnership with France.

Russia is seeking to push up its nuclear energy dependent from 16 per cent to 25 per cent.

In Asia, Japan (40 per cent) and Republic of Korea (15 per cent) are likely to continue their nuclear energy programme unabated, now joined by China which has undertaken an extraordinarily ambitious programme of nuclear energy with diversified reactor technologies, the study said.

Globally 16 per cent of energy requirements are met from nuclear power, which may be contrasted with its four contribution in India.

''Therefore, continued opposition to Indo-US Nuclear Agreement would jeopardize India's nuclear interest as it would amount to denial of technology to it,'' said the President elect of Assocham Sajjan Jindal adding that international cooperation in areas like satellite launching, precision engineering, high and sourcing or even defence production would be severely constricted.

Referring to the much talked about Hyde Act, the papers describes it a relevant and enabling legislation passed by the congress and assented by the President, which allows the United States to work out nuclear cooperation agreement in India.

''Without the Hyde Act it would not have been possible for the two countries to discuss 123 Agreement because various sanctions of the US Atomic Energy Act forbade such initiatives vis-a-vis India,'' the study said.

Waivers were required to exempt India from these provisions and the Hyde Act provided permanent waivers in this respect, it added.


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