New Delhi, Jan 25: In a significant boost to their civil nuclear cooperation, India and France today encouraged their industrial companies to conclude techno-commercial negotiations by the end of the year for the construction of six, instead of two, nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur.
During the talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, French President Francois Hollande reassured reliable, uninterrupted and continued access to nuclear fuel supply throughout the entire lifetime of the plants while acknowledging India's need for the same.
"The two leaders agreed on a roadmap of cooperation to speed up discussions on the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project in 2016. Their shared aim is to start the implementation of the project in early 2017," a joint statement after the talks between the two leaders said.
They also favoured conclusion of techno-commercial negotiations by the end of 2016 for construction of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur while giving due consideration to its cost and transfer of technology, besides cost-effective localisation of manufacturing key components in India.
France also reaffirmed its strong support for India's candidacy to international export control regimes and in particular to the NSG. France was the first country with which India established a strategic partnership in 1998 after New Delhi had conducted nuclear tests.
France is also the first country with which India entered into a civil nuclear energy cooperation in 2008 after obtaining the NSG waiver.
"France is among those few first countries with which India has signed agreements in the field of civil nuclear cooperation," Modi said at a joint press event.
"In pursuance of the 2008 Agreement on the Development of Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy between India and France, the two leaders encouraged their industrial companies to conclude techno-commercial negotiations by the end of 2016 for the construction of six nuclear power reactor units at Jaitapur."