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India must harness clean energy to combat climate change: Modi

Toronto:  A day after Canada agreed to supply uranium to India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India must succeed in harnessing clean energy like nuclear power to combat climate change and address global concerns.

He regretted that India was denied reactors by the world despite the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Gautam Buddha having an impeccable record in peace.

“The whole world is worried about global warming and climate change. People in air-conditioned rooms discuss this issue. But if India succeeds in generating clean energy, one-sixth of the humanity will take responsibility for addressing the climate change. For that nuclear energy is important,” he said addressing the Indian diaspora here at a function where Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife were present.

Modi said the biggest decision during his ongoing three-nation trip was with regard to the civil nuclear field in France where it was decided that reactors will be built in India.

“But the reactors will need uranium which will be given by Canada,” he said referring to the agreement signed yesterday under which Canada will supply 3,000 metric tonnes of uranium over next five years at a cost of USD 254 million.

He said earlier India used to ask countries for reactors but they would throw up their hands. “They used to fear that India may build a bomb. Those who make the bombs are not stopped by anybody,” he said, without naming anyone.

Modi thanked Harper for the immense enthusiasm with which he was received here and said the relationship between the two countries will be “very long and fruitful”.

At the same time, he took a dig at former governments in India. “In this age of aeroplanes, it takes about 15-20 hours to reach Canada but it took an Indian Prime Minister 42 years to come here,” he said, adding that “I did it in 10 months”.

Citing his “very good” experience of working with Canada since the time he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi said “working together of India and Canada can make them a strong force.”

Talking about his ambition of ensuring India’s development, he said its requirements can be met by Canada.

Praising Canada, Modi said it had partnered Gujarat in its annual Vibrant Gujarat fair since 2003 when he was the Chief Minister there.

“For a developed country to be a partner country of a state is not a small decision…I will return home tomorrow but I can never forget Canada’s love,” he said.

Harper described Modi’s visit as “historic” and said his country wants to work with India in enhancing trade, investments and working in the security area.

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