India-France nuclear pact comes into force

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NEW DELHI - The civil nuclear accord between India and France, signed over a year ago, came into force Thursday with diplomats of the two countries exchanging instruments of ratification of the agreement - giving Paris a distinct edge over other countries in the multi-billion dollar Indian market wishing to supply nuclear technology to New Delhi.

The India-France nuclear pact has formally become operational even as New Delhi and Washington are still struggling with finalising details of a key reprocessing pact required to implement their nuclear deal.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and France’s ambassador Jerome Bonnafont exchanged the instruments of ratification of the cooperation agreement on the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy signed in Paris on Sep 30, 2008.

In accordance with the provisions of the agreement, it becomes effective from the date of exchange of instruments of ratification.

Days after the Nuclear Suppliers Group re-opened the doors of civil nuclear commerce for India Sep 6, 2008, after a 34-year hiatus, France became the first country to ink a civil nuclear accord with India.

The French parliament unanimously approved the accord in November last year, paving the way for participation of French companies in India’s nuclear energy sector.

France-based nuclear conglomerate Areva has been allocated the nuclear project site at Jaitapur, in Maharashtra, to construct two nuclear power plants initially. Each of the two power plants to be built in Jaitapur will have a capacity of 1,600 MW.

Marking this important milestone in India’s journey of nuclear liberation from various technology denial regimes, the external affairs ministry said the entry into force of the agreement “gives a new impetus to the Indo-French partnership”.

It will further strengthen the deep ties of friendship and longstanding cooperation between the two countries, the ministry said.

“As responsible states with advanced nuclear technologies, India and France intend to develop multifaceted civil nuclear cooperation covering a wide range of activities including nuclear power projects, fuel supply, R&D, nuclear safety, education and training,” the ministry said.

India has signed civil nuclear pacts with seven countries, including the US, France, Russia, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Argentina and Mongolia.

India has finalised a nuclear pact with Canada, which is expected to be signed later this year.

Filed under: Economy

will not be displayed