India a responsible nuclear power, says Manmohan

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, July 2:

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said India was a responsible nuclear power and ready to cooperate with like-minded countries against proliferation of nuclear weapons. At the same time, he also called for a fight against any efforts at technology denial in the attempts to create a peaceful environment. “We are a nuclear power... a responsible nuclear power. We have declared no first use,” he said, highlighting India’s role as a responsible nuclear power. Manmohan Singh, who was addressing the 2004 batch of Indian Foreign Service probationers, said India underscored the need to block any unauthorised proliferation of nuclear weapons. “India is ready to cooperate with like-minded countries in this regard. In securing a favourable international environment we should fight against any efforts of technology denial,” he asserted.

Mentioning the role of state and non-state actors in promoting terrorism, the prime minister reiterated the need for sustained struggle against terrorism while dealing with other problems like disease, poverty and inequality. Manmohan Singh regretted that India-Pakistan ties had hampered regional cooperation and hoped for a new relationship with Islamabad and a sustained effort to resolve outstanding bilateral problems. “There is a growing realisation that our countries are missing out the great potential that exists for economic and social cooperation between India and Pakistan. “So far, India and Pakistan relations have proved to be the stumbling block in carrying forward the processes of regional cooperation.” He hoped that a new relationship with Pakistan could be found whereby a sustained effort would be made to resolve outstanding bilateral problems. However these problems should not block possibilities of economic cooperation.

He was responding to a question by a probationer on economic diplomacy overcoming the problems with neighbouring countries. According to the prime minister, the foremost task before the country was to accelerate social and economic growth processes within a democratic framework. Replying to another question, Manmohan Singh stressed that performance appraisal had to be the backbone of government services. Manmohan Singh said that in the era of interdependence, there was a need to develop cooperation among states to tackle formidable problems like environmental degradation and chronic poverty.

“Foreign service officers should project India’s values and concerns to the outside world,” he said.