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'India will not compromise national interest for N-deal'
February 22, 2006 19:16 IST
If the proposed Indo-United States nuclear deal goes against national interest, India can opt out of it, said C N R Rao, the prime minister's scientific adviser. Speaking on Wednesday, on the eve of Indo-US talks, Rao also asserted that India's fast breeder reactors could not be put in the civilian side.
India cannot be forced to accept the deal, Rao said, hours before the arrival of Nicholas Burns, US Under Secretary of State. He added, however, that the stage to accept or reject the deal has not yet come.
Burns will meet with Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran for talks on the nuclear issue.
"Who said we are going to put the FBRs in the civilian side? We cannot and will not do so," he told PTI, emphasising that such installations are 'our own creations' and could not be opened up to international scrutiny. He was asked if Washington was insisting that New Delhi put FBRs in the civilian side.
Rao, chairman of Science Advisory Committee to the prime minister, was speaking on the sidelines of Indo-US Nanotechnology Conclave.
"We will accept only whatever is good for India. The deal cannot be forced on us. The country's interest will be protected," he stressed. "India can say a polite no, if the talks fail."
Rao said that the deal includes that a clause that will allow India to do this. "There will be no compromise on the country's national interest," he said.
Noting that the deal makes it clear that both sides have to agree for implementation of the deal, Rao said, "India is no longer a poor country, which can be pushed into doing something. Our country is strong, our atomic energy programme is strong and our prime minister is strong."
However, he added that he is 'confident' that the deal will be ironed out amicably.
Rao denied that differences exist between the prime minister and the scientific community. But, he said, that he would favour easing of restrictions in high-technology trade. "The Indian scientific community has conducted a lot of researcgh in the face of denial regimes. The stage has come where we can teach others, too," he said.
Complete coverage: The India-US nuclear tango