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VEDANTA MASS MEDIASarkozy backs US-India nuclear deal
 


            

 

  
             Sarkozy backs US-India nuclear deal


     New Delhi, Jan 25: French President Nicolas Sarkozy, seeking to cement political and business ties with a booming India, voiced support at the start of an official visit for New Delhi`s controversial nuclear deal with the United States.

 

     Sarkozy also echoed Britain`s recent support for India`s bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, where Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States have wielded exclusive veto power since 1945.

 

     "We are on the verge of finding an agreement which will enable the development of civilian nuclear cooperation with India," Sarkozy told a newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

 

     The deal aims to give India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and equipment for the first time in more than 30 years, even though New Delhi has tested nuclear weapons and refused to join non-proliferation agreements.

"This is one of the stakes of my visit in India: to bring to fruit this evolution that I deem essential for India`s development and the protection of the global environment," Sarkozy said.

 

     In a possible controversial move, France also announced on Friday that the government will give a prestigious award, the Prix Simone de Beauvoir to Taslima Nasreen, a Bangladeshi author exiled in India who recently sparked riots by Muslims offended by her books.

 

     Threats against her forced authorities to house her in a secret security facility in New Delhi, and she has appealed for more freedom. The Indian government came under attack last year for failing to give her enough vocal support.

 

     The French government asked India to take "all measures" needed to help her journey to France for the award.

 

 

     MILITARY PARADE

 

 

     Sarkozy, accompanied by a business delegation, will meet with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and attend a military parade on Saturday to mark India`s Republic Day.

 

     His visit comes after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown`s visit earlier this week, the latest leader drumming up support for business with the growing economic powerhouse, which is also increasingly playing a more important diplomatic role in Asia.

 

     The nuclear deal, opposed by the Indian government`s leftist allies, needs the support of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), whose members work to prevent nuclear exports for peaceful purposes from being used to make atomic weapons.

 

     It must agree unanimously on an exemption for India if the deal is to go ahead, as New Delhi has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Many see the deal as dead after leftist opposition, but the government still hopes to seal it.

 

     A deal would enable major nuclear technology exporters such as France to do business with India.

India has forged strong defence ties with France in recent years, with deals for Mirage jets and Scorpene submarines to modernise its military, the world`s fourth largest.

 

     Officials say revival of the Eurocopter deal for 197 military helicopters - which was dumped by India last month - could figure in Sarkozy`s talks.

 

     France`s Dassault Rafale is also eyeing a deal to provide India with the world`s biggest fighter jet contract in years, expected to top USD 10.2 billion for 126 fighters.

 

     "If the manufacturer Dassault decides to present an offer, the French government will support it," Sarkozy told a leading newspaper.

 

     India`s media was at first more interested in the possible visit - later cancelled - of Carla Bruni, a singer and former supermodel who was reported to be near to marrying Sarkozy.

 

 

 

     Bureau Report

 


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International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015


 

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