Deal with IAEA will end nuclear apartheid, says Prime Minister

Deal with IAEA will end nuclear apartheid, says Prime Minister
PTI
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First Published: Tue, Jul 15 2008. 05 22 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Jul 15 2008. 05 22 PM IST
New Delhi: In an expression of confidence that the government will win the 22 July trust vote in the Lok Sabha, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that people understand the significance of the initiatives taken by it and “endorse them”.
“The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the people of India understood the significance of the initiatives being taken by the UPA government and endorse them,” a brief note, issued by PM’s media advisor after Singh’s meeting with a group of editors at his residence here, said.
In his first public comments after the Left parties withdrew support to the government, the Prime Minister dismissed allegations by the Left and the main opposition BJP that the IAEA safeguards agreement would compromise India’s strategic programme.
“The agreement will in no way impinge on our strategic programme, which is entirely outside the purview of the IAEA safeguards agreement,” he said.
Highlighting the opportunities for international cooperation in civil nuclear energy to meet the challenge of energy security and high technology development, Singh said the IAEA accord would enable India to cooperate in this sector with all the 45 members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
These include USA, Russia, France and China, he said, adding that concluding the agreements with IAEA and the NSG would end the era of nuclear apartheid against India.
The Prime Minister also used the occasion to reject charges by the opposition and Left that the government was compromising the country’s foreign policy.
“India will never allow any extraneous interference in the conduct of our independent foreign policy,” he asserted while making it clear that New Delhi would continue to seek good relations with all its Asian neighbours.
Facing strident criticism over inflation and rising prices, the Prime Minister outlined the steps taken by his government to sustain the growth momentum and curb inflation “in the face of external pressures” on account of rising crude oil prices.
He also spelt out measures to insulate the poor “to the extent possible” from inflation.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the initiatives being taken to boost agricultural production and farmers’ welfare.
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First Published: Tue, Jul 15 2008. 05 22 PM IST