India, France sign pact for coop in space, set to sign N pact

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Paris, Sep 30 (UNI) India and France signed a ''long-term agreement'' for cooperation in outer space research and are set to sign the landmark Civilian Nuclear Framework Agreement here later today during the Summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

The civil nuclear cooperation agreement, which has been already finalised, covers supply of reactors and atomic fuel to India.

The two countries will also sign the social security pact which will benefit more than 200,000 Indians working in France. The pact entails Indians to carry back their savings when they return to India.

The agreement signed today between Astrium and Antrix--commercial arm of the ISRO-- entails utilisation of the PSLV launch services.

It was signed by Dr G Madhavan Nair, Chairman ISRO/Antrix, and Secretary Department of Space, and Astrium CEO Francois Auqua. It enables Astrium to offer attractive solutions in international markets for in-orbit delivery of its earth observation satellites, using the PSLV launch services from Antrix/ISRO.

Both companies have been cooperating during the past five years in the field of space activities, an ANTRIX spokesman said adding that the cooperation represents a major breakthrough.

Dr Singh- Sarkozy will be the second meeting between the two leaders during the past two days after they met at the Ninth India-European Union (EU) Summit at Marseille, a picturesque 2600-year-old port city, yesterday.

The French President, while declaring that the world needed India to fight climate change, sought to allay nuclear proliferation concerns about India, saying ''we trust Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh) and we trust India.'' The Union Cabinet had on September 18, approved the signing of the Social Security Agreement. Under the agreement, workers on short term contract up to five years do not have to make any social security contribution, provided they continue to make social security payment in India. These benefits shall be available even when the Indian company sends its employees to France from a third country.

Indian workers will be entitled to the export of the social security benefit if they relocate to India after the completion of their service in France. The self-employed Indians in France would also be entitled to export of social security benefit on their relocation to India.

UNI RB RP DS1450

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