Stronger Indian nuclear industry can make n-power more competitive: Jaishankar

Amidst India's aggressive bid for entry into the elite NSG, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Monday said that a stronger Indian nuclear industry can help make nuclear power more competitive globally.

PTI| Updated: Jun 13, 2016, 22:36 PM IST

Mumbai: Amidst India's aggressive bid for entry into the elite NSG, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar on Monday said that a stronger Indian nuclear industry can help make nuclear power more competitive globally.

He said "large anticipated investments" in nuclear energy sector can only happen in a climate of "predictability".

Delivering keynote address at the inauguration of the two-day 'The Gateway of India Dialogue' on 'Where geopolitics meets business' here, he said India's membership to Nuclear Suppliers Group can "effectively" address concerns regarding certainty of trading rules and technology access.

"We are in a position now to build on the international cooperation openings that have been negotiated in the last decade and confirmed by the settlement of the liability issue.

"The path is once again open to a substantial increase in domestically-produced nuclear power plants while simultaneously moving forward with foreign partners," the Foreign Secretary said.

"These large anticipated investments in the nuclear energy sector can, however, only happen in a climate of predictability. In particular, it would require greater certainty of trading rules and technology access.

"It is our expectation that membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group can effectively address that concern. A stronger Indian nuclear industry can help make nuclear power more competitive globally," Jaishankar said.

While the US has been pushing for India's NSG membership, China has been opposing it.

 

"Indeed, as our own nuclear industry expands and we go rapidly beyond the 140 nuclear-related export licences that we issued last year, it's also in larger interest that our practices are in conformity with global ones," he said.

He said the Ministry of External Affairs is pleased to support this event, which has been organised by the Gateway House and MEA. 

The Foreign Secretary said of all the global challenges, none has captured the world's attention more than the threat of terrorism.

"Whether it is its orthodox version that this city knows only too well, or the more recent cyber manifestations, the intention remains one of dominating through disruption. National resilience and systemic hardening are obviously part of the answer," he said.

Stating that the preemptive and responsive policies are "equally important", he said international cooperation in that regard has consequently come to occupy a significant place in our diplomatic agenda.

"While this is a subject in itself, let me just state that events have shown that a reputational downgrade is as damaging for nations as for companies.

"A comparison of statements and outcomes of Indian diplomacy over the last many decades will bring out how much more central economic and developmental issues have become to our external engagements," he said.

Underlining the importance of business, Jaishankar said, "No high-level visit is complete today without a business event. Ensuring market access and responding to investors' concerns are taken as a given. The advancement of flagship programmes is clearly a key thrust. Enhancing national branding is a major preoccupation".

He said a more global business outreach has widened the horizons of Indian diplomacy.

"A new normal is in the making, one where the business of Indian diplomacy is increasingly business," he said.

Stating that the connection between business and diplomacy is self-evident, Jaishankar said, "This is a very different foreign service from the one I joined four decades ago".

Replying to queries of the audience, Jaishankar said he was expected to go to Pakistan but then the Pathankot attack happened.

To a query on when will "Made in China" will give way to "Made in India", he said, "This is not an objective and not reasonable also. I don't subscribe to this thinking".