India to seek dual-use knowhow

Kapil Sibal

Kapil Sibal  

P. S. Suryanarayana

China plans for a greater use of nuclear energy

SINGAPORE: India intends to acquire dual-use technologies from willing partners, with its civil nuclear energy deal with the United States becoming “operational” now, in the context of a recent decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

And China, “planning a greater use of nuclear energy” in a “mix of measures to fight climate change,” thinks that India “will [now] be best positioned to map out a strategy” of “all appropriate measures” for combating global warming. In this scenario, the “appropriate measures” may include civil nuclear energy in the light of “India’s specific conditions and priorities.”

India’s move to access dual-use knowhow was disclosed by Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, while China’s subtle position was outlined by Ambassador Yu Qingtai, Special Representative for Climate Change. They were separately answering questions from The Hindu on the sidelines of a ‘Global Indian Diaspora’ event – ‘Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Singapore’ – on Saturday. Both participated in a plenary session on ‘sustainable development,’ with Mr. Sibal chairing the discussion.

Asked whether China would see the U.S.-India civil nuclear pact as a step in the right direction in the global ecological campaign and whether this deal might still raise proliferation concerns, Mr. Yu said: “I have full confidence that the government of India would be able to work out a strategy, based on India’s specific conditions ... to make a contribution to the global fight against climate change.”

Mr. Sibal said India, now “looking at the [potential] use of dual-use technologies in civilian programmes,” would not have to go back to the NSG to access external knowhow in this domain. Under the U.S. law, any such access would be considered on “a case-by-case basis.” And, any question of “conditionalities” would be “a matter of negotiations [for] the contracts that we [might be able to] enter into [with other countries] as we move forward” to obtain dual-use technology or equipment and materials.

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