Indo-France nuclear co-operation signed

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Nicolas Sarkozy
New Delhi, Dec 6: French President Nicolas Sarkozy's landmark India visit has led to the signing of landmark nuclear deals. Construction of French nuclear reactors in India is in the pipeline. Other bilateral cooperation in the atomic energy sector is also under consideration.

Sarkozy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a high-profile meeting today. "President Sarkozy's visit is fourth in a series of high-level exchanges between India and France in the last three years. This reflects importance of the strategic partnership. Discussions were wide ranging and extremely productive. We made significant progress on all issues. On nuclear energy, the negotiations have paved the way for nuclear reactors at Jaitapur."

"Several other agreements in nuclear areas such as research and training, nuclear safety, waste management have also been concluded," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said while addressing a press conference after the talks.

"France is our one of the most reliable defence partners. Counter terror is significant area of cooperation where we are making good progress; science and technology are emerging as new sources of growth which will drive relationship forward," he added.

Speaking to media persons, Sarkozy said, "We have not come simply to visit a major client, but a partner. The signing of the two EPRs (reactors) is just the beginning." France also expressed solidarity in India's bid for membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Agreement has been made between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and French company Areva to establish nuclear power plant (NPP) units in Jaitapur in Maharashtra. An agreement on 'Protection of Confidentiality of Technical Data and Information Relating to Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy' was also signed.

The atomic energy sector got a much needed boost when the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and France's atomic energy commission the Commissariat A L'energie Atomique Et Aux Energies Alternatives(CEA) was signed for engagement in the field of nuclear science and technology.

Besides this, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Centre National D'tudes Spatiales (CNEc) for Cooperation also signed a pact for cooperation in the field of earth science and climate change.

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