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Nuclear energy vital for security strategy, says Manmohan Singh

Sujay Mehdudia

“We must be able to address our growing energy demand”

— Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Emphasis on ENERGY: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora (left), Minister of State for Petroleum Dinsha Patel and Petroleum Secretary M. S. Srinivasan at the foundation laying ceremony of Rajiv Gandhi Urja Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday.

NEW DELHI: Faced with strong opposition to the India-U.S. nuclear deal, especially by the Left parties, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday said that nuclear energy would play a very important role in pursuing a sound energy security strategy. He urged all political parties to appreciate this vital issue in the national interest.

Speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Rajiv Gandhi Urja Bhavan at Vasant Kunj in South Delhi, Dr. Singh said: “I urge all political parties to appreciate the vital national interest of pursuing a sound energy security strategy. India is on the move and we must be able to address our growing energy demand. No government can afford to shirk this responsibility and hope to find favour with the people.”

The Prime Minister said there was a need to develop all our energy resources — coal, gas, oil, hydro and nuclear along with renewable resources such as wind and solar power. “From a long-term perspective, nuclear energy and solar energy can play an important role in addressing our energy security needs. Our government is committed to the development of nuclear energy,” he said without making any reference to the nuclear deal.

Underlining the need for energy, Dr. Singh said real energy security implies assured supply of good quality energy at affordable prices. “When we aim for a 10 per cent growth rate, we must recognise the critical importance of energy security. India’s energy needs, which will grow with the pace of economic development, cannot be met with oil and gas for long,” he added.

Expressing concern over the growing import bill for crude oil, he said that as the country and its economy grow, the import oil bill will put an unbearable and an unsustainable burden on our economy.

Abundant solar energy

Dr. Singh said India was blessed with solar energy in abundance and it could be a major energy source in the coming years. “It is time we invested in research and development for commercial use of solar energy. The immediate need is to develop these technologies to make such energy available to the masses in the shortest possible time.”

United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dinsha Patel, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Tejinder Khanna, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit were present.

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