Terming the technology control regime "anachronistic", Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee has asked the United States to ease restrictions on supply of dual use nuclear and space technologies, which he said were needed to realise its economic potential.
Mukherjee, who is on a visit to the US, said yesterday that "If India is to play its part as an engine of growth and factor of stability in Asia, it should be in the interest of the US and others that such regimes (technology control regimes) are liberalized as quickly as possible."
"If indeed India is to realise its economic potential, India needs alternative sources of energy. Foremost among those available is nuclear energy. India has indigenously developed technologies for nuclear energy, but, as in many other areas of dual use or high technology, India faces serious impediments of access to materials and components," the defence minister said in his address to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Taking a positive view of the India-US Next Steps in Strategic Partnership and the energy dialogue to address some of these restrictions, he said their easing would "impact India favourably in the next 2-3 decades". Speaking on India's decision to go nuclear, Mukherjee said the nuclear tests were in response to "an increasingly untenable security environment".
"India has already announced a restrained and responsible doctrine for its (nuclear weapons) role in India's security. Her nuclear energy and security programmes are separate," the minister said.
Speaking on the security situation, Mukherjee said, "India has, since independence, faced aggression and conflicts with its two largest neighbours. At least one has been openly hostile and adventurist through this entire period. There are unresolved territorial and boundary issues with the other. Talks have commenced with both, but the situation is not yet such that India can lower its guard".