-  Saturday 15 August 2020

    India, France ink nuclear pact

    NEW DELHI — India and France yesterday decided to sign nine key agreements that extraordinarily includes a declaration on strategic bilateral civilian and defence nuclear cooperation.

    This formal signing of declaration even before New Delhi and Washington sort out their differences over their nuclear deal has paved way for a joint defence convention between India and France days before United States President George Bush arrives. Both India and France are also working on a joint agreement on space science technology.

    The visiting French President Jacques Chirac stressed France's cooperation with India in this sector stating that the bilateral ties with India was set to prosper. French President met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh here before the two sides penned a series of agreements on nuclear energy cooperation and defence contracts.

    While the 'Declaration on the Development of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes' was signed by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar and French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste Blazy, the agreement on defence cooperation was signed by French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and her Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee.

    The deals were signed in the presence of the Dr Singh and President Chirac. The joint statement later released stated that the agreement was an important element of the strategic partnership between the two nations and was aimed at building upon and expanding cooperation in defence and military fields.

    Though it is said to be the result of the undertaking made in the joint statement of September 12, 2005 in which both the sides had 'agreed to work towards conclusion of a bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation agreement', this pact is expected to do wonders to bilateral ties.

    Top officials said that both the sides realise the potential of bilateral trade ties, including mutual concern over global security emanating out of illegitimate nuclear proliferation. "It is this concern that both the countries are keen on establishing themselves as partners in nuclear energy and defence deals," said officials.

    Dr Singh in a Press interaction said: "We reiterated our commitment to work together to address global challenges. We continue to cooperate in fighting terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in promoting sustainable development and in the effective management of globalisation."

    President Chirac said that India and France was to "strengthen long standing ties of friendship and understanding between two countries which has so much in common such as believes in democracy and secularism. We are to uphold the values enshrined in United Nations charter," he said.

    "The range of agreements signed provide an indication of the extensive and substantive engagement between India and France. The nuclear and defence deals are among the most important outcomes of the visit," said Dr Singh. "We appreciate France's support for the ongoing effort to enable full civilian nuclear energy cooperation between India and the international community. President Chirac was one of the first world leaders to support such an initiative and I thank him for his strong and consistent leadership on a matter of great importance for India's energy security," he added.

    He further said that cooperation in the space sector is another important aspect of Indo-French ties, which is progressing well. "We are also deeply appreciate of France's support to India's candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council," Dr Singh said.


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