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Indian Oil Minister Says Nuclear Deal Strengthens “Energy Independence”

July 16, 2008

Text of unattributed report headlined “Another media blitz planned on nuclear energy” published by Indian newspaper The Hindu website on 16 July

New Delhi: Stating that the India-US nuclear deal will end India’s technological isolation suffered since the Pokharan tests, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said on Tuesday [15 July] that the deal assured the country of supplies needed to power the future.

“If we do not act now, our future energy dependence is at stake,” he said.

“Will cut revenue loss”

Interacting with journalists here, Mr Deora said the Petroleum Ministry was planning a second round of media blitz next week to explain the strategic importance of nuclear energy, which he said would help reduce revenue loss on fuel sales.

“At a time when India faces crippling shortage of energy, and when our nuclear plants are short of uranium, the deal will help lift sanctions against India and allow our nuclear scientists to take their honoured place in the international community.

“It will also grant us the status of a recognised nuclear power that will not sign the NPT [Non Proliferation Treaty] but is respected as non-proliferators. The deal restores our sovereign honour,” he added.

Mr Deora said the deal would help reduce the country’s dependence on crude oil, whose international price had already crossed 145 dollars a barrel mark, and gas.

“It offers us an invaluable source of clean, efficient and safe energy to add to the variety of energy sources we need — coal, oil, wind, hydro, solar, biofuels and nuclear — as we seek to bring prosperity and hope to all Indians in the 21st Century.”

Energy independence

Going further, Mr Deora said the deal strengthened India’s energy independence, sovereignty and autonomy.

The Petroleum Ministry had come out with advertisements in newspapers explaining what nuclear energy could do to the nation’s energy security.

Oil shock

Mr Deora justified the advertisement campaign. “We have been the worst sufferers of the oil shock. And to cut our reliance on expensive imported oil we need to look at alternatives and nuclear energy is the best alternative.”

Complimenting the Union government on getting all-round support for the deal, Mr Deora said the government had done a tremendous job by getting support for the civilian nuclear deal from major countries, including China.

Originally published by The Hindu website, Chennai, in English 16 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring South Asia. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.




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