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Monday, September 29, 2008

India, France set to sign nuclear agreement

India and France are poised to ink a landmark civil nuclear deal similar to the one with the United States, which will be the first such agreement to be initialled by any country with New Delhi signalling an end to its 34-year-old nuclear apartheid.

Though Indian officials said that the Indo-French Nuclear Cooperation Agreement is expected to be signed soon, France gave its clear indications that it will be inked during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Paris tomorrow for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Sarkozy had told PTI that the prospects of cooperation between France and India in the civil nuclear field are "very promising" considering his country's expertise, long tradition of cooperation with New Delhi and an atmosphere of trust.

India and France had initialled the Framework Agreement for Civil Nuclear Cooperation in January but could not sign it pending a waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group. Now that the NSG has given its nod, New Delhi and Paris are free to sign the agreement during Singh's visit to Paris.

The framework agreement was inked during Sarkozy's visit to India in January this year.

"We have already initialled the framework agreement in civil nuclear matters. It will certainly come up for review and possible signature during my visit," Singh told reporters yesterday when asked whether he expected the nuclear agreement to be signed during his two-day tour to Paris.

(Source: Press Trust of India)

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