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N-cooperation only after deal with IAEA: France
October 21, 2007 16:39 IST
Uncertainty over the Indo-US nuclear deal cast a shadow over the first Indo-French nuclear business meet in Mumbai, which was aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in the atomic field.
While France [Images] is keen to start widescale nuclear cooperation with India, it will not be possible for Paris to enter into a deal with New Delhi without the latter successfully completing its safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to operationalise the Indo-US accord, French officials said.
"We will be unable to enter into a deal with India on civilian nuclear cooperation unless India enters into safeguards agreement with IAEA as a follow up of 123 agreement with the US," French officials, who were in Mumbai to participate in the just-concluded first Indo-French nuclear business meet, said.
"Unless India gets a Nuclear Suppliers Group exemption and it signs an agreement with IAEA on safeguards, it would be difficult to proceed with Indo-French civilian cooperation," they said.
"Although discussions are being held between officials of both the countries on Indo-French agreement to be concluded, it would be difficult to go ahead till these two procedures are completed," they told the Indian Atomic Energy Department at the business meet.
Chairman and Managing Director of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited S K Jain told PTI that the stand taken by the Left Front on the Indo-US nuclear deal definitely cast a shadow on the Indo-French business meet as well as the agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation with France.
In fact, French experts expressed concern over the energy shortage in India and asked how political parties could not understand the difficulties of the vast population.