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Home > India > News > PTI

France seeks nuclear cooperation with India

May 01, 2008 16:45 IST

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Keen to have civil nuclear cooperation with India, France [Images] has said that it is waiting for New Delhi to ink the safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency and get an exemption from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group.

French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont said that his country is pleading with the IAEA and NSG, to give exemption to India in the field, so that it can have cooperation with the international community.

He told PTI that an end to India's isolation in the field would be good for the country as well as the world.

"We believe strongly that an agreement between India and the IAEA, leading to a special case presented to the NSG, which will allow India to cooperate in the civilian nuclear area with foreign countries, is a good thing for India and a good thing for the world," Bonnafant said.

He said that France very strongly favoured civil nuclear cooperation with India and is waiting for New Delhi to sign the safeguards agreement with IAEA and get the exemption from NSG.

"We are ready to sign the agreement with India whenever there is an agreement with the IAEA, approved by the IAEA's Board of Governors and the exemption from NSG," he said.

France is pleading for exemption to India in the IAEA and among the NSG members, Bonnafont said.

A bilateral civil nuclear agreement between France and India, on the lines of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, is almost ready for signature by the two sides.

When referred to the political difficulties faced by the Manmohan Singh [Images] government on the nuclear issue because of the Left opposition, Bonnafant refused to comment, saying it
was for the government here to take a decision.

Four Left parties, which provide crucial outside support to the United Progressive Alliance government, have warned against signing an agreement with the IAEA, as part of implementation of the India-United States nuclear deal.

"This is a moment when the decision is in the hand of the government of India and we have nothing to say, except that it will be possible for India to go ahead and we support it," the French envoy said.

France, which meets 80 per cent of its energy needs through nuclear power, has always maintained that India should be brought into the international nuclear mainstream.

India has apprised France about details of the safeguards agreement reached with the IAEA. Paris is understood to be 'comfortable' with that pact, feeling that it is in tune with its own proposed bilateral deal with New Delhi, on the lines of the Indo-US agreement.

A prominent French nuclear power company has already surveyed potential sites for setting up atomic power plants in India.

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