Weak economic ties deter Indo-China nuke relation

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Toronto, Aug 24: Strained economic relations between India and Canada is becoming an obstacle for the latter to join India's nuclear industry.

Talks with New Delhi on a deal to allow Canadian companies to supply India's booming nuclear industry have not yet begun, the Globe and Mail reports.

The Conservative government hoped that Canada's nuclear-policy shift, which immediately improved political ties with India, would bring deals for Canadian uranium and nuclear-engineering companies.

But the United States, France and Russia have moved faster to sign nuclear agreements to allow their companies to sell to India.

In May, 2009, Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Canada was 'very close' to a civil nuclear co-operation agreement with India.

But several sources familiar with the discussions said that Canada and India are a substantial distance apart and have not yet cleared hurdles that would lead to the start of formal negotiations.

Day's office has had deep differences with negotiators from the Foreign Affairs department's non-proliferation branch, the sources said.

Day's team and some other Conservatives feel the bureaucrats who specialize in nuclear safeguards want to impose excessive restrictions while companies from other countries are signing deals.

"It's over and above what the international community may be content with. The bureaucrats are saying] what if the International Atomic Energy Agency and their guidelines, what if all that fails, for whatever reason? We want to have our own system," said one source.

The obstacles include potential limits on Indian nuclear scientists moving between civil and military projects. Many work in both areas, but Canadian visa rules bar them from entering Canada on national security grounds.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, however, has promised the Indian government that he would issue special permits to the scientists.

ANI

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