26 July :Asserting that the Indo-US nuclear agreement was in the long-term interest of the country’s development and energy security, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi said the deal would be carried forward even if it meant "losing the next elections."
"I do not care if we lose the next elections. In India, too much is said about short term gains. But this agreement is about long-term gains, about the future of India.
We will go ahead with it as this agreement is based on courage," Rahul Gandhi said in Hyderabad on Saturday.
The young MP was participating in an interactive session with students and academicians on "123 agreement" organised by the Andhra Pradesh unit of NSUI.
"I am in politics because we want this country to progress in the long-term. For me, vote is irrelevant. What is relevant is thinking long-term, transform the country and to give our youngsters a bright future," Gandhi said.
The nuke deal, he said, would give a "big opportunity" to India to become a "global player in nuclear energy" and help in striking a balance between various energy sources.
"Today, our nuclear scientists are working with their hands tied to the back and our nuclear establishments, painstakingly built over years, are choking because of lack of adequate fuel supplies and technology," he said.
"What this agreement will do is to free our nuclear establishment from the shackles and give our scientists an opportunity to create wonders and open up our energy sector to the rest of the world," he said.
Answering queries from engineering students and professors on a wide range of issues related to the deal, Gandhi asserted that there was no question of any compromise on the country’s sovereignty while signing the deal.
Rubbishing the argument that the nuke deal was anti-Muslim, Gandhi said, "This deal is about energy, development and about poor people. No matter how hard some people try to give it a religious angle, it is not about religion but about progress."
Allaying apprehensions that the agreement might place America in a position to arm-twist India in the future, the Congress leader said in the post-deal scenario a bulk of nuclear fuel and technology would flow from Japan, Russia and France where nuclear technology is more advanced than US.
"This agreement will allow us to do nuclear trade with these countries. It is not US-specific but is meant to integrate our energy sector with the rest of the world," he said.
Taking a dig at BJP and other opposition parties, Gandhi said, "Even BJP knows that the deal is in the interests of the country. In fact, they had negotiated 123 agreements which were less powerful than this. Lot of them (BJP leaders) admit this in private. But, when it cames to supporting the deal, they opposed. This is disappointing."
Showering praises on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for taking the "bold decision", he said, "I am proud of this stance taken by the Prime Minister for the sake of the future of the country. It is not often that such decisions are taken in Indian politics."
"Our Prime Minister is a thinking man but lot of people do not understand this. It was easy for PM to compromise but he said no. It is for our future. I have no doubt that this is the right way forward," the AICC leader said. Courtsey DD NEWS