M A I N   N E W S

Man, he hasn’t given up

New Delhi, October 24
Beleaguered prime minister is determined to push a nuclear deal with the United States despite stiff opposition from his communist allies, a lobbying group quoted him as saying.

The historic deal has brought Manmohan Singh’s coalition to the brink of collapse as left parties that shore it up have threatened to end support if the pact is pursued.

Singh appeared to have given in and put the deal on the backburner earlier this month but has since said he remains hopeful of clinching it, sparking fresh political uncertainty and new questions over the agreement’s fate.

Singh told members of the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), who met him late on Tuesday, that the nuclear agreement was the best way forward for India, the United States, and the world, a statement from the group said on Wednesday.

“We ... found him determined to take the US-India civilian nuclear agreement forward despite some opposition typical in a vibrant democracy like India,” said Sanjay Puri, chairman of the Washington-based USINPAC.

“The message that the prime minister wanted the USINPAC delegation to take back to America was that his government is working to take this deal forward,” the statement added.

Singh, said Robinder Sachdev, USINPAC’s India unit head, hopes a debate on the deal in Parliament during the winter session next month will help forge a political consensus. — Reuters



N-deal in the balance, India intensifies hunt for uranium
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, October 24
With the Indo-US nuclear deal virtually dumped in the cold storage, the country’s nuclear establishment has begun a worldwide hunt to source uranium in order to keep its power reactors operating.

Officials here admit that the Indian nuclear establishment is desperate to sign the Indo-US nuclear deal since the country is virtually scraping the bottom of the barrel to source uranium for its nuclear power plants.

“Though the country has an ambitious programme to generate 20,000 megawatts of nuclear power by 2020, its success will depend on fuel sourced from external sources,” a well-placed source told this reporter.

The Indo-US deal would have allowed the nuclear establishment to utilise the country’s scarce uranium resources for the weapons programme while depending on external supplies of the fuel for power generation. India was to have sourced uranium from international suppliers like Australia for its power programme.

Officials here now say, the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) which is solely responsible for mining uranium in the country, will have to work overtime to produce the precious metal.

The DAE has tasked the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) of Hyderabad to hunt for uranium deposits concealed beneath rocky depths across the country. The Atomic Minerals Department of DAE and the NGRI have identified areas in the country where there was a possibility of finding uranium deposits. Possible areas include Meghalaya in the north-east, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh and the North Singbum area of Bengal.



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