September 12, 2007

Former nuclear chief says India building own nuclear submarine

20:40 | 10/ 09/ 2007

NEW DELHI, September 10 (RIA Novosti) - A former head of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission confirmed Monday earlier media reports that India is building its own nuclear submarine.

Indian and foreign media have been reporting that India is building a nuclear-powered submarine, but the information has not been confirmed by any official involved in the project until now.

"Indian scientists and engineers are capable of building light-water nuclear reactors, and we are already building one for a submarine in Kalpakkam, in the south of India," P.K. Iyengar said.

The statement by the former nuclear official comes amid a dispute among the country's leadership over a proposed nuclear deal with Washington.

India's premier has come under pressure from communist allies in parliament over the deal, which is set to give India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and equipment for the first time since the 1970s.

The communists, who believe the deal would subject the country to U.S. hegemony, have threatened to withdraw their support for the government if the deal is pursued.

Under the deal, Washington could cut off nuclear fuel supplies in the event of a weapons test. The agreement allows India to reprocess U.S. nuclear material in UN-monitored facilities to ensure it is used for civilian purposes.

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