France take N-step forward
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 25
and France today took a significant step forward in bolstering
their strategic partnership when they announced finalising
negotiations for reaching a bilateral agreement for civil
nuclear cooperation and taking their defence cooperation “beyond
a buyer-seller relationship.”
Minister Manmohan Singh announced the finalisation of negotiations
regarding the Indo-French civil nuclear cooperation agreement
at a joint press conference with visiting French President
Nicolas Sarkozy after their intensive talks at Hyderabad House.
The Prime Minister said the two sides also decided to bolster
their defence cooperation and take it “beyond a buyer-seller
his part, Sarkozy came up with an announcement that was music
to the Indian government. He said France would advocate India’s
case for acquiring civil nuclear energy with other European
countries and at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in view
of New Delhi’s commendable non-proliferation track record.
French side, however, minced no words in telling the Indian
government at talks today that the Indo-French nuclear agreement
could not materialise till the Indo-US nuclear deal passed
muster at the IAEA and the NSG and the international rules
for nuclear commerce were changed in India’s favour.
Prime Minister said India’s negotiations with the IAEA were
moving forward and hoped that these would be concluded “without
loss of further time”. The Prime Minister said: “International
discussions do take time… The discussions are moving forward.
It is my sincere hope that discussions can be concluded without
loss of further time.”
Prime Minister’s comments assume significance as the Indian
team is tipped to leave for Vienna next week for technical
negotiations with the Agency for the fifth round, expected
to be the final round of negotiations.
joint statement issued at the end of Sarkozy’s talks with
Manmohan Singh said: “France and India have decided to give
a new impetus to their cooperation for the development of
nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as an expression of their
agreement was signed today in the field of nuclear research,
which is a key for preparing for the future. It relates to
the participation of the Indian Department of Atomic Energy
in the research project, the Jules Horowitz Reactor, which
will be built by the Commissariat a l’energie atomique (French
Atomic Energy Commission) at Cadarache, France.
MoU that establishes cooperation between the Bhabha Atomic
Research Centre and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
on the one hand, and the Grand Accelerateur National d’Ions
Lourds (GANIL), on the other hand, on the use of Spiral 2
high intensity beam production system at Caen, France will
be signed in Mumbai.
and France also agreed to intensify exchanges between the
scientists of both countries in the nuclear field, establish
structures for training and undertake nuclear safety research.
At the industrial and commercial levels, France and India
agreed to work towards raising the level of bilateral cooperation
guided by their deep mutual trust and the high technological
capabilities of the two countries.
countries will consolidate their relationship in the field
of defence by increasing the range, level and frequency of
their military joint operations and cooperation. In this regard,
it was agreed to deepen their joint programmes and prospects
in defence industry, conduct joint research and facilitate
transfer of technology in this vital areas.
Sides welcomed the signing of the Agreement for the Protection
of Classified Information and
Security and decided to initiate detailed discussion on the
Status of Forces Agreement.
and France agreed to maintain the momentum of cooperation
in the space sector. On bilateral trade, the two sides pledged
to work towards achieving an ambitious target of reaching
12 billion euro bilateral trade by 2012 and significantly
stepping up investments.
Sarkozy extended an invitation to the Prime Minister of India
to pay an official visit to France in 2008 on the occasion
of EU-India summit. The Prime Minister accepted the invitation
also supported India’s inclusion as a permanent member of
Security Council. Sarkozy also conveyed to the Indian side
his conviction that the G-8 needed to be expanded over time
to G-13, including India.
the issue of terrorism, the two sides resolved to strengthen
their cooperation against international terrorism by increasing