Washington, Sept.26 : India and France will discuss nuclear cooperation during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Paris, said Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon.
"It is on the agenda. We are working on it with them for some time.
When asked whether the waiver by the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) allowed any country to have nuclear trade with India, Menon said: "The NSG is a waiver to the NSG member States to do business with us. Let's not confuse issues. The NSG gave a waiver to its members saying you can cooperate with India for the civilian uses of nuclear energy. So they are free, they can cooperate with India. If they want to do business with us, we will not say no.
Asked to give a clarification on the additional protocol, Menon said: "The additional protocol has got nothing to do with this. It is up to them. Why are we confusing issues here? The NSG has given a clearance to its members to do business with India. US is an NSG member and so are 44 others."
When a query was raised as to whether India has committed to place orders for 10,000 MW to US, he said: "The commitment to US is that we will place orders if they are commercially competitive which is the same as our commitment for anyone else because you can buy cheaper electricity from someone burning coal or something else. Even when the agreement is signed, it will still have to go through the commercial process - discussing with companies and working out the details - but no one will be disadvantaged."
"If you look at the kinds of quantities that the reactors would entail, we would have to go to several suppliers. The only issue really is whoever supplies has to be commercially competitive. The 123 is an enabling agreement and once it is done, it would allow firms and companies to sit and do the detailed contracts for the supply of the equipment etc. That work is going to take a little time. It is not that once 123 is done, contracts would be signed overnight with anybody. Even if we sign tomorrow with France or Russia, I don't see anybody being disadvantaged in this process," he added. By Naveen Kapoor