Singh is king on Indo-US nuclear deal

Vol 12, PW 4 (10 Jul 08) News in Brief

Faced with chronic power shortages and a soaring oil import bill, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is using his last few months in office before elections next year to seal a deal signed in July 2005 with the US to bring India back into the global civilian nuclear trade regime.

This week, at the G8 summit in Japan, Singh used his new support from the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav to urge the US Congress to pass the so-called 123 Agreement before US polls in November. India’s energy needs are nearly double the 130,000-MW it generates, with nuclear less than 3% and many plants operating at less than 50% capacity because of uranium shortages.

Singh wants nuclear energy to be around 15%. But communist allies who propped up Singh’s government from outside oppose the deal, which languished until the Samajwadi Party stepped in with its support.

India has not yet signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty after testing a nuclear device in May 1998.