India's foreign secretary issued a vague threat to countries who hope to sell it nuclear fuel but refuse to provide access to their enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology, saying that's just the sort of thing that could convince a buyer to look elsewhere.
"We will defend our interests to the hilt," Rao said when asked in a TV interview if India would not buy reactors from any country that refuses to sell ENR technology as well. "There is a balance of interest, there is a balance of commitments, there is mutual reciprocity involved. There are leverages that we can exert from our side also," she added.
The remarks came in the wake of fresh nuclear suppliers' group guidelines which ban the sale of ENR to countries that have not signed the non-proliferation treaty (NPT).
India had already received assurances from the US, France and Russia that they would continue to support a waiver, offered in 2008, which allows members of the nuclear suppliers' group (NSG) to sell fuel and technology to India even though it has not signed the NPT. But there is some lack of clarity in its existing bilateral nuclear agreements, which do not specifically mention ENR, according to the newspaper.
Rao expressed confidence that India's economic leverage would be enough to overcome any shortcomings in the wording, however. "The whole issue of full bilateral civil nuclear cooperation, the fact that India has the potential to develop 60,000 mw of electricity from nuclear energy by 2030," the paper quoted Rao as saying. "So, this is a dynamic process. We have an expanding nuclear industry. This is a great attraction to the rest of the world."