PM compliments Sarkozy for supporting India at NSG

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Paris, Sep 30 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today complimented French President Nicholas Sarkozy for supporting India's case at the Nuclear Suppliers Group for a waiver.

Asked to what extent did the French nuclear industry support Indiain the development of its own nuclear capacity, the Prime Minister said France and President Sarkozy helped India a great deal in obtaining the approval of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to enable India to develop its civilian nuclear industry.

''We will now implement full cooperation in this field within the framework of a long-term global agreement,''the Prime Minister said in an interview with Le Figaro, a prominent French daily, published today.

Asked what did he expect from French companies in India, Dr Singh said bilateral trade had increased but remains at 6,14 per cent billion euros, much below the potential rate.

During the visit to India of President Sarkozy in January this year, India decided to double the trade by 2012. To maintain a 9 per cent annual growth rate, India had to undertake major investments to improve its infrastructure which would provide considerable opportunities to French companies especially in the fields of energy, telecommunications, road networks and food processing.

About Defence contracts, he said Defence Cooperation between India and France had started long ago. French firms had actively participated in India's Defence programme but India would like to build a real partnership with collaboration in research and development, transfer of technologies and joint productions going far beyond a simple buyer-seller relationship.

About what he thought of the growing commitment of France in Afghanistan and if he favoured change in strategy and negotiating with the Taliban, he welcomed the growing commitment of France in Afghanistan as the country needed lasting international assistance.

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