* U.S., France, Russia stand by commitments - Rao
* India's large nuclear market leverage against restrictions
* Rao says must positively note Islamabad's "altered" view
By C.J. Kuncheria
NEW DELHI, July 3 India's top diplomat on Sunday
hinted New Delhi could ban nuclear reactor purchases from
countries refusing to sell sensitive nuclear technology to it
after suppliers decided to tighten such trade against countries
Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao also said the United States,
Russia and France stood by their promises to supply such
technology despite last month's decision by the Nuclear Supplier
Group (NSG) to restrict transfer of uranium enrichment and
reprocessing technology which can be used to make atomic bombs.
The suppliers' decision was seen as a blow to nuclear-armed
India, which won a waiver from such trade restrictions in 2008,
a move that ended its three-decade-long nuclear isolation.
"I think the latest NSG decision is not the end of the road.
It is not set in stone. Let me say that," Rao told a television
channel in an interview, the transcript of which was made
available in advance by the foreign ministry.
"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 said.
When asked if the leverages meant India would blacklist
unwilling countries and ban nuclear reactor purchases from them,
she said: "We will defend our interests to the hilt."
India plans to raise it nuclear power generation capacity to
7.3 GW by end-March from the current 4.7 GW, and hopes to have
over 20 GW of such capacity by 2020.
The billions of dollars in contracts up for grabs make India
an attractive market for firms like General Electric ,
Westinghouse Electric -- the United States-based arm of Japan's
Toshiba Corp , France's Areva and Russia's
"We have an expanding nuclear industry. This is a great
attraction to the rest of the world," Rao said.
Under NSG rules, to import nuclear goods, all nations except
the five officially recognised atomic weapons states must
usually place nuclear sites under safeguards of the
International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
But when Washington sealed a nuclear supply accord with
India in 2008, it won a unique exemption after contentious
negotiations. India gained access to technology and fuel while
it was allowed to continue its nuclear weapons programme.
The U.S. ambassador to India has said the waiver to New
Delhi is safe and media reports have cited the French ambassador
with similar comments.
India has said it is a responsible nuclear power and that it
has an impeccable non-proliferation record that has earned it
NEW THINKING IN PAKISTAN
Rao, who last month had unexpectedly successful talks with
her Pakistani counterpart, said Islamabad's view on militancy
had "definitely been altered."
She noted that Pakistan now spoke of the need to tackle
non-state actors and safe havens and sanctuaries for militants.
"I think that is a concrete development," she said, adding
The two nations have fought three wars, one of which divided
into two the Himalayan region of Kashmir which both countries
claim in full. New Delhi accuses Islamabad of aiding militants
in Kashmir, a charge Pakistan denies.
Peace talks between the nuclear-armed rivals revived this
year after they broke off in 2008 following a raid by
Pakistan-based militants on Mumbai. But little concrete has
emerged in solving the half-century old dispute between them.
"I am not trying to sound over optimistic about this," Rao
said. "I think we have to be realistic. We have to understand
the difficulties in the terrain."
(Editing by Yoko Nishikawa)