India, France ink nuclear cooperation agreement
Scrapping 34 years of nuclear trade isolation, India and France entered into a new era of bilateral ties on Tuesday by inking a landmark agreement on civil nuclear cooperation that includes supply of reactors and atomic fuel.
With this agreement, India and France will embark in other areas of cooperation like nuclear safety, radiation and environment protection and nuclear fuel cycle management.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the end of the summit talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace exuberantly said: “We expect to enter into similar agreements with other European partners.”
The Indo-France Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement was signed in the presence of Singh and Sarkozy by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.
The atomic agreement comes three weeks after the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granted a vital exemption to India enabling it to conduct global nuclear trade.
Among the three agreements that has been signed between the two nations, the first is the atomic cooperation and the rest two deals with security matters to benefit Indian and French nationals staying temporarily in each others countries up to five years.
India and France also decided to give a new impetus to their cooperation for the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as an expression of their strategic partnership.
Officials said the two sides recognised that as a reliable source of sustainable and non-polluting energy, it could make a significant contribution in meeting the global challenge of achieving energy security.
With the signing of the pact, France became the first country to indulge in nuclear commerce with India after Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granted waiver to New Delhi on September 6.
The Indo-US nuclear deal after crossing one hurdle, as House of Representative passed the bill, is still waiting for its approval by the Senate which will facilitate eventually the Congressional nod. The agreement between the two on nuclear deal is expected to be inked soon.
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