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Norway backs reasonable nuclear efforts in India

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said his country recognized India’s right to nuclear energy for civilian use, but said there is a need to find a “consensus based-solution.”

The PM said a resolution should be reached within the 44-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) on granting a waiver to India to carry out international civilian nuclear trade.

Without stating Norway’s position on India getting an exemption in the NSG, Stoltenberg told ET: “We strongly believe we should find a consensus which solves the challenges we face regarding the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement. We believe that the only way is to find a solution.”

However, toltenberg, who clearly indicated that there are sticking points on the matter, said Norway recognized India’s right to meeting its energy demands. “We are engaged and we will support to find a consensus-based solution, because this is the only way,” he added.

His remarks indicated that if and when India does get to the NSG, where it needs a consensus decision, it will not be a smooth sailing. Countries like Ireland, Sweden and New Zealand have criticized the deal at past NSG meetings, saying it would weaken the non-proliferation regime, while countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland and Austria are known to be strong proponents of the non-proliferation regime.

Many NSG members are also waiting for India to conclude negotiating a safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before taking a position on the matter.

Meanwhile, Stoltenberg, whose third visit to India is focused on climate change, said Norway understood India’s position on climate change. India has argued successfully that it would not agree to emission controls that will affect the growth of the economy. Stoltenberg agreed that emission controls could not come at the cost of development.

“We recognize India’s right to develop. Global warming is a problem mainly from emissions from rich countries since the industrial period. So rich countries have to take the main responsibility for emission reduction. We can’t say that people of India don’t have access to electricity or to have car or economic development,” the Prime Minister said.

He, however, added that though developed countries need to take the bulk of the responsibility, developing countries and emerging economies need to do their part also. There is a need for a common agreement, he said. India has also been arguing that it should be given access to civilian nuclear energy which is the cleanest form of energy.

In fact, one of the areas of co-operation that Norway is interested in is in introducing technologies in India that would cut down pollution. One such project is a carbon capture and storage project, where C02 in injected into geological formations. Norway has implemented in two projects back there, he said, and added that his country is keen to introduce the project in India. (indiatimes)