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N-pact adds 'new dimension' to ties with France
G Sudhakar Nair in Paris
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September 30, 2008 18:25 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on Tuesday said the civil nuclear cooperation agreement between India and France [Images] added a 'new dimension' to their strategic partnership and conveyed his gratitude to Paris for its consistent support to the country's atomic initiative.

India, France ink landmark nuclear deal

'Today we have added a new dimension to our strategic partnership by signing an inter-governmental agreement on civil nuclear cooperation,' Dr Singh said in a statement after his talks with French President Nicholas Sarkozy during which the landmark nuclear agreement was inked.

France, the Prime Minister said, is the first country with which India has entered into such an agreement after the lifting of international restrictions on civil nuclear cooperation with New Delhi [Images] by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

'I conveyed to President Sarkozy our gratitude for France's consistent support to our civil nuclear initiative,' he said.

A joint statement issued after their talks said the two countries welcomed the agreement adjusting the international civil nuclear cooperation framework to enable collaborations with India.

'India and France welcome the signature of a bilateral agreement for civil nuclear cooperation, which will form the basis of wide-ranging bilateral collaborations in energy and research,' it said.

Dr Singh said defence cooperation between India and France should move away from a buyer-seller relationship to joint production and transfer of technology.

The prime minister said the two countries are on course to achieve the target of raising their bilateral trade to 12 billion Euro by 2012.

'We agreed to work towards promoting and facilitating investments in each other's countries,' he said.

Dr Singh called Sarkozy a 'great friend of India' under whose dynamic leadership New Delhi seeks to further deepen and expand strategic partnership with France.

During the talks at the Elysees Palace, the home to the French President, the two leaders reviewed the progress that has been made in cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, science and technology, space, defence, culture and education since Sarkozy's visit to India in January.

Dr Singh described the agreement in the field of peaceful uses of outer space and social security as important. He said the two countries also agreed on the need to reform international institutions, including the UN, to more effectively deal with issues like the international financial crisis.

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