India, France intend to develop multi-faceted civil nuclear cooperation

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Washington, April 14 (ANI): India and France on Tuesday expressed their desire to develop multi-faceted civil nuclear cooperation.

"India and France intend to develop multi-faceted civil nuclear cooperation covering a wide array of areas including nuclear power projects, fuel supply, research and development, nuclear safety, education, training etc.," said Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Vishnu Prakash in Washington.

The Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday held bilateral talks with the French President Sarkozy after the opening plenary session of the Nuclear Security Summit here.

It is worth mentioning that France and India have extensive strategic co-operation, with the military services of both nations conducting joint exercises.

India has purchased much military equipment from France, especially the French Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft and the Scorphne class submarines.

France was one of the few nations who did not condemn India's nuclear tests in 1998 and has supported India's bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council as well as G-8.

France is one of the largest suppliers of nuclear fuel to India, and signed a "Framework Agreement for Civil Nuclear Co-operation" in January 2008 during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to India.

During the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to France after India's waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), both nations signed an agreement that would pave the way for the sale of French-made nuclear reactors to India on September 30, 2008.

France and India also maintain a discreet "strategic dialogue" that covers joint cooperation against terrorism.

"Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his talks on Tuesday also invited the French President and First lady to visit India. They will, most probably, come at the last quarter of this year," the MEA spokesman added. By Ravinder Singh Robin(ANI)

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