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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday stressed greater collaboration with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in terms of research on new high-yield and drought resistant varieties of crops.

In a meeting with Director General IAEA Rafael Mariano Grossi, the prime minister emphasized collaboration in view of the impact of climate change on Pakistan and related challenges including water, energy and food security.

Shehbaz Sharif noted the contribution of nuclear power generation to Pakistan’s energy mix as a cleaner and more affordable source of energy.

The prime minister appreciated the ongoing cooperation between the IAEA and Pakistan in the areas of health, agriculture, industry, nuclear medicine and power generation.

He expressed Pakistan’s full support for various projects and programmes of the Agency and conveyed Pakistan’s keenness to expand its footprints in the Agency’s work both as a recipient and provider of expertise and technical assistance.

Director General Grossi was briefed about the crucial role being played by the 19 cancer hospitals being operated by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) which were bearing the bulk of cancer burden in Pakistan and offering services to the general public at nominal rates.

The IAEA Director General agreed to the need for expanding applications of nuclear technology in countries like Pakistan to address a whole suite of climate-related challenges.

He expressed his appreciation for the good work of the agricultural research institutions in Pakistan, including NIAB which is one of the IAEA collaborating centres in Pakistan.

Acknowledging Pakistan’s expertise in nuclear applications in various fields the Director General noted the important role Pakistan can play for supporting the Agency’s work including its ‘Ray of Hope’ initiative for cancer treatment.

The IAEA Director General is on a two-day visit to Pakistan. During his stay in Pakistan he will be visiting various nuclear facilities, cancer treatment centres and agricultural research institutions employing nuclear technology for sustainable development.

He will also witness the excellent standards of nuclear safety and security being maintained by Pakistan.

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