India likely to sign civil nuclear deal with France

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Onboard Air India One, Sept 28 : Just few hours after getting a nod of approval from the US Congress on the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation deal, India is likely to sign another deal on similar lines with France which is arguably the biggest player in the field of nuclear energy.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh told reporters on board his special aircraft today that he is likely to sign civil nuclear deal with France during his visit.

Dr. Singh said, "I am looking forward to my meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy who is the Chairperson of the European Union. He will be presiding over the India-EU Summit, and then we have the bilateral summit. We have already initiated a framework agreement on bilateral civil cooperation on nuclear energy; it is likely to be signed during my visit."

Dr. Singh is on two-day visit to France from today.The signing of the bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement is likely to take place in Paris on October 30.

In January, both the leaders issued a joint statement in New Delhi declaring their desire to cooperate in the field of nuclear energy and to move on beyond the buyer-seller relationship.

Having got the International Atomic Energy Agency''''s (IAEA) approval for the India specific safeguards and a waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), it became apparent that India will go ahead with signing civil nuclear agreements with both France and Russia. The only ethical obstacle was the US Congressional nod which India has got today. By Naveen Kapoor

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