PM Hopes, US Will Get India Official N-Power Status

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hopes that the United States will help India get the official status of a nuclear weapons state, given its impeccable record in the field of non-proliferation. "Well, I hope it will
pm hopes us will get india official n power...
PTI November 30, 2009 13:54 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hopes that the United States will help India get the official status of a nuclear weapons state, given its impeccable record in the field of non-proliferation.

"Well, I hope it will happen," he told Fareed Zakaria of the CNN when asked if he thinks that the US should try to press the issue and have India brought into the system as a nuclear weapons state.

The interview was taken in New Delhi, before Singh travelled to Washington last week. Its first part was telecast last Sunday, while the second part was aired on Sunday.

It would be a positive development, the Prime Minister said when Zakaria asked if it is "fair to say that one of the ultimate objectives of India would perhaps be to become a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty system, but to be invited in as a nuclear weapons state in the way that China was." Despite its status as a nuclear nation, India has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Zakaria noted.

India's ultimate goal is actually to sign the treaty, but it does not have official nuclear state status. China got that in 1992, and that is what India wants, Zakaria said.

"Well, if we were to go that way, that would be a very positive development from our point of view," Singh said. "We are a nuclear weapons state, but we are a responsible nuclear power. We have an impeccable record of not having contributed to unauthorised proliferation of these weapons of mass destruction," he said.

"So, I think India does require, I think, greater consideration of the global community," Singh said.

Last week, welcoming the Indian Prime Minister at the White House, US President Barack Obama had identified India as a nuclear power.

"As nuclear powers, we can be full partners in preventing the spread of the world's most deadly weapons, securing loose nuclear materials from terrorists, and pursuing our shared vision of a world without nuclear weapons," Obama had said.

The statement was viewed by many experts as a recognition by the US that India is a nuclear state.

"We should cooperate in addressing global challenges of combating terrorism, making our environment cleaner and moving towards a world free of nuclear weapons," the Prime Minister had said, adding that India supports the move of the Obama Administration to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.

Citing coalition compulsions, Singh said economic reforms need to be in tune with the political climate of a country and cannot be produced like "rabbits out of a hat".

"I think we cannot produce the reforms like rabbits out of a hat. Reforms have to respond to the political climate, what is saleable, what I can sell to our coalition partners," Singh said in the interview. 

The Prime Minister was responding to a question that many of his admirers are disappointed about the slow pace of economic reforms in India.

"You know the compulsions of managing a coalition in which there are several parties, the Left parties. That, naturally, restrained our -- constrained our ability to move forward," the Prime Minister said. 

"I think the big-ticket reforms were completed by us while we were in office, from '91 to '96," he said adding that now it is a question of improving quality of administration, quality of delivery of services and infrastructure.

"And the bulk of this infrastructure is in the public sector. Those issues we are going to attend. We are paying a lot more attention to improving the quality and the management of our infrastructure than ever before," he said.

When asked what his legacy would be as the Prime Minister of India, Singh said: "Well, my legacy may be the fact that four years before the international economic crisis erupted, our country's economy grew at the rate of nine per cent per annum.

"Now, people do not think whether we can grow at the rate of five or six per cent. Nine per cent or eight per cent is considered the normal rate of growth," he said. PTI

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