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Home > News > Report

Debate natural in democracy: Ronen Sen

Suman Guha Mozumder in New York | November 20, 2007 11:08 IST

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India's Ambassador to the United States Ronen Sen says debates on issues like the India-US civilian nuclear agreement are a natural process in any democracy, including India.

"In India and the United States, whenever we have initiatives or undertaken missions in uncharted waters, it has always resulted in discourses and debates, which are a natural process in any democracy," Sen said in response to a question regarding the delay in the nuclear deal being finalised.

The envoy was addressing a reception organised in his honour by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in New York on Monday evening. Sen, who was billed to speak on India-US relations, sought to explain to the audience why the cooperation was important.

"We are still in the process of having that debate and I am sure that at the end of this or as a result of the current process, we will arrive at a consensus that will enable us to take this initiative forward," Sen said.

Energy, he said, is one of the biggest problems India will encounter in terms of its development and the related issue of addressing water scarcity. He said India cannot address the issue of water scarcity without addressing the issue of energy because energy is the primary requirement both for addressing water scarcity as well as for providing potable water.

"About 90 per cent of our health expenditure is spent on water-borne diseases. So one can imagine the importance of energy. Energy is critical for these requirements and particularly at a time when we are going through so much turmoil in the world," Sen said.

"If you look at it, geographically we are in a position where we do not have ready access to energy sources. One of the ways we are going to address this is by the proposed India-US civilian nuclear energy agreement, which is a very important part for promoting energy security and that is also a vital component of our national security," Sen said.

India, he said, is also working on improving cooperation in energy efficiency, by looking at alternative sources.

"So, it is a broad array of bilateral cooperation," Sen said, adding that the two countries are cooperating in the international arena as well, including fighting international terrorism, "the terrorist camps close to us" and trafficking in narcotics.

He said cooperating in maritime security is an important aspect of India's overall security. "Traditionally, we have looked at ourselves as a land power, but both in terms of our economic development and as we integrate ourselves to the global economy," Sen said, "maritime security is going to be and is an important part of our security perspective. And this is where we are cooperating with the United States as well."