India,France to have bilateral civil nuclear energy agreement

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New Delhi, Jan 25 (UNI) France today said it would advocate India's cause for civilian nuclear energy with the international community and at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) while both countries finalised negotiations for a bilateral agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation.

The two countries also signed an agreement for construction and operation of Jules Horowitz (JH) Reactor. It was signed by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Dr Anil Kakodkar and Mr Alain Bugat, chairman and CEO of the Commissariat a L'Energie Atomique (CEA) of France.

The proposed bilateral agreement will form the basis of wide-ranging bilateral cooperation from basic and applied research to full civil nuclear cooperation including reactors, fuel supply and management.

Visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, while addressing a press conference jointly with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after their talks, appreciated India's track record in the nuclear field and described it as a responsible nuclear power.

''France will be India's advocate with the international community for India acquiring civilian nuclear energy...India is considered a responsible nuclear power which is sticking to IAEA guidelines. So France will be the advocate,'' President Sarkozy said in reply to a question.

Dr Singh, in reply to a question, said international negotiations on issues like civilian nuclear energy, took time. Nevertheless, India's discussions with the IAEA were moving forward and would be completed successfully without loss of further time.

''One must recognise that international negotiations do take time. Our discussions with the IAEA are moving forward and can be concluded successfully without loss of further time.'' Dr Singh said.

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