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India Seeks Nuclear Trade With World

India's new legislation and Singh's (pictured) assurances come as New Delhi is in talks with Washington over using nuclear technology to meet its growing energy needs.
by Harbaksh Singh Nanda
New Delhi (UPI) May 17, 2005
Seven years after declaring itself a nuclear weapons state, India is taking steps to show the international community it is a responsible nuclear power.

Just days after the nation's parliament passed the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery System Prohibition of Unlawful Activities legislation, a law aimed at tightening laws relating to illicit trafficking of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons-related material and technology, the government said Tuesday it was prepared for the "broadest" engagement with the international non-proliferation regime provided its nuclear and strategic program was not subject to "externally imposed constraints."

"India is willing to shoulder its share of international obligations as a partner against proliferation provided our legitimate interests are safeguarded," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the nation's defense scientists.

He sought to allay global fears over the safety of India's nuclear program and arsenal and sought trade in nuclear technology with other nuclear states.

"We see no reason for non-proliferation concerns to be a barrier to high-technology trade and commerce with India," he said.

Russia and the United States both want assurances on the export of sensitive technologies before advanced nuclear technology can be transferred for peaceful purposes.

India and its arch-rival Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in May 1998 that resulted in international sanctions against the two nations. Economic and military sanctions have been lifted over the past few years.

India's new legislation and Singh's assurances come as New Delhi is in talks with Washington over using nuclear technology to meet its growing energy needs.

Washington is against a proposed gas pipeline from Iran to India via Pakistan and has promised New Delhi help in exploring other sources of energy, including nuclear, to meet its demands. India has so far not shelved its plans for the $4.8 billion gas pipeline.

Singh said India was conscious of the responsibilities that came with the possession of advanced technologies, both civilian and strategic.

"India will not be a source of proliferation of sensitive technologies," he said. "We will adopt the most stringent measures to safeguard and secure the technologies that we possess, or those that we acquire through international collaboration."

The assurances come amid the continuing fallout of the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network, headed by the father of Pakistan's nuclear program who sold nuclear technology to countries such as Iran and Libya.

Singh said India had to become self-reliant in critical technologies as long as multilateral technology-denial regimes targeting the country remained in place.

He said India was committed to building an environment of cooperative and productive relations with all nations but at the same time, a comprehensive military deterrence was crucial.

"The maintenance of a credible defense posture is, of course, greatly dependent on equipping our armed forces with high technology-weapon systems, appropriate to our military doctrine and strategies," he said.

Singh urged the scientists to explore what was available through external sources, technology transfers and co-production, both for use in markets in India and for third-country exports.

He assured the international community that New Delhi did not want an arms race in the region, would go ahead with a self-reliant military.

"A self-reliant military complex is therefore, essential for the country to maintain our strategic autonomy," he said.

All rights reserved. 2005 United Press International. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by United Press International. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of United Press International.

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India Moves To Protect Its Nuke And Technology From Being Leaked
New Delhi (AFP) May 10, 2005
India, which shocked the world with a series of nuclear tests in May 1998, introduced a bill in parliament Tuesday to ban proliferation and the transfer of missile technology to non-nuclear states.

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