4 July:Former President and scientist A P J Abdul Kalam told top Samajwadi Party leaders that the Indo-US nuclear deal was beneficial for the country and they should keep national interest above politics while firming up their stand on the issue.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and General Secretary Amar Singh drove to Kalam’s residence on Thursday evening after a meeting of UNPA where it was decided to seek the opinion of experts of eminent scientists on the issue before future course of action could be chalked out.
After more than an hour-long meeting with Kalam, Yadav told reporters that the former President told them that "the deal is in national interest".
"We will inform UNPA leaders about our discussions with Kalam who is a well known and respected scientist. He is the father of nuclear technology of the country", the SP supremo said.
Yadav and Singh put forth before Kalam the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday night seeking to address concerns that the Samajwadi Party had articulated before National Security Advisor M K Narayanan.
"He (Kalam) read it and said the country’s interest is bigger than politics and political parties," Singh said as he hailed the former president as a great scientist who has been honoured with Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.
Kalam told them that "I am not in politics but I have worked with nuclear weapon technology for a long time… country needs clean nuclear energy".
With regards to apprehension over India’s right to conduct nuclear tests after the deal comes into operation, the former president told them "if other neighbouring countries like Pakistan and China make nuclear weapons, we will not be bound to the extent that we cannot scrap the deal for the sake of nation."
On concerns over nuclear sovereignty, Kalam told them India had conducted five nuclear blasts and does not need to carry out tests again and again.
"We are a nuclear weapon state and we don’t need to behave like any other country. In fact, we should have been in the NSG as a nuclear weapon state. Kalam said NSG is a grouping of 45 countries and not US alone and till we develop thorium-based plants, any one of these particular countries can supply uranium to us," Singh said.
Asked about the future course of action after Kalam’s advice, Singh said any step can be taken without compromising the country’s sovereignty.
During his meeting with the SP leaders, the former president noted that the country’s reactors are thorium based and it will take 15-20 years to develop these.
“We need uranium which is in short supply. That is why the present reactors are running at 30-40 per cent of their capacity”.
"Till we develop thorium based reactors, we need the deal for clean energy without compromising national sovereignty. He also clarified that he has studied the deal thouroughly and that wherever national interest is concerned, we should rise above politics," Singh said.
Courtsey ; DD NEWS