Manmohan Singh hopes for nuke pact with France
Marseilles (France), Sept.29 (ANI): Speaking on the sidelines of the Ninth India-EU Summit here, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, said on Monday that he was quite optimistic about India and France reaching an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation in Paris on Tuesday after talks with French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
"India seeks cooperation with all countries of the world in matters relating to the promotion of civil nuclear energy in our country. The U.S. Congress is now engaged in the process of passing a legislation which would promote bilateral cooperation between the U.S. and India," Dr. Singh said at a joint news conference with Sarkozy.
"Sometime ago, the Nuclear Suppliers Group adjusted its guidelines in the matter of civil nuclear cooperation with India. We look forward to working with France and other countries in this area. We are having a summit tomorrow. I hope some results will come out of this summit," the Prime Minister added.
On his part, Sarkozy said that civil nuclear energy should be seen as the cleanest form of energy in a world that was bedeviled by global warming and other environmental problems.
He confirmed that on Tuesday he would be talking to Singh on the issue of nuclear cooperation, and thereafter, both governments would take a decision.
India and France had initialed the Framework Agreement for Civil Nuclear Cooperation in January but could not sign it pending a waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
Sarkozy is already on record as saying that the India-International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safeguards Agreement and the NSG waiver for India are 'historic landmarks."
To a question on Iran's nuclear program, Singh said he had discussed the issue with Sarkozy at the India-EU Summit this morning.
"I have said earlier and I repeat that Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and is entitled to all that is needed for development of its civil nuclear program. And as a member of NPT, it has also to undertake all obligations of the NPT," he said.
He said India would not like the emergence of a nuclear weapons state in its neighborhood.
"There is no question of supporting the nuclear weapon ambitions of Iran," he said, adding that this had been explained to Sarkozy and other members of the EU.
The financial crisis in the United States, the state of global hunger, the energy situation and restructuring of international institutions were among the other issues raised at the summit, which Singh described as fruitful and constructive. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)
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