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Finland seeks fillip in ties with India

September 06, 2007 17:36 IST

Finland, a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, is closely following the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, but is yet to take a decision on supporting India's move for adjusting the NSG guidelines for trade in atomic materials and sharing of the know-how.

Senior foreign ministry officials of Finland, who did not wish to be named, told a group of visiting Indian journalists that a decision in this regard would be taken in due course of time.

"This is a political issue and will be decided at a political level," said one official.

India and the US have finalised a draft 123 agreement to implement the nuclear deal. India also has to negotiate two separate agreements to operationalise the deal a country-specific safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency and another agreement with the NSG.

The officials also said they understood that the issue of global nuclear cooperation was  "very important" for India. The Indo-US deal will allow Washington to sell nuclear fuel and technology to India, which has been denied access to nuclear equipment and technology for the past three decades. India has set a target of producing 20,000 MW of power from nuclear plants by 2020.

Meanwhile, Rauli Suikkanen, deputy director in the ministry's Asia and Oceania desk, said Finland's External Trade and Development Minister Paavo Yrynen would visit New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai next month to give a fillip to trade and political relations between the two countries.

The Finland government will open a consulate in Mumbai and plans to pursue negotiations on free trade between the two countries, Suikkanen said.

Finnair, which already has direct flights from Mumbai and Delhi to Helsinki, will soon begin flying to Chennai, which is home to some of Finland's top companies, including Nokia and Kone, he said.

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