N-deal with Canada to top Manmohan's Toronto agenda | delhi | Hindustan Times
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N-deal with Canada to top Manmohan's Toronto agenda

delhi Updated: Jun 22, 2010 20:16 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for the G20 Summit on the global financial crisis June 26-27 in Toronto where he is also scheduled to hold talks with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper and sign a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation pact on the lines it has with the US.

India has also signed similar pacts that opens the door of nuclear commerce with Russia, France and a host of other nations.

"The agreement will cover a large ambit of peaceful nuclear applications," Vivek Katju, Secretary (West) in the external affairs ministry, said during a briefing on the prime minister's visit.

According to Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, India and Canada may also sign specific pacts on energy, culture and social security while holding talks on a host of bilateral, regional and multilateral issues.

In a signal honour, Manmohan Singh will be the only visiting leader at the G20 Summit for whom Harper will host a dinner. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon are part of his delegation.

There were anxious moments ahead of the visit after a public furore last month when it came to light that the Canadian mission in New Delhi had in recent times denied visas to some serving and retired Indians because of their association with the armed forces and intelligence agencies.

The matter was put to rest after Canada said it "deeply regrets" the aspersions cast on the Indian security establishment during routine visa refusals on the legitimacy of work carried out by members of the Indian defence and security institutions.

Though the Canadian government has made no announcement on the deal, a high-powered Canadian source also told IANS that "it (the nuke deal) is on the cards. After all, the Indian prime minister is here after a very long time and there should be some big accomplishments to show for his visit.''

The nuclear deal will mark a new chapter in India-Canada relations which suffered a setback after Canada imposed sanctions on India in the wake of the 1998 nuclear blasts.

The deal will spell a bonanza for Canada's struggling nuclear industry which has been feeling left out as India signed such deals with France, Russia and the US.

To triple their two-way trade from $5 billion, the two prime ministers and their delegations will also hold extensive talks on economic and trade cooperation.

"Though the proposed comprehensive economic partnership agreement may not be signed yet, the prime ministers will give it a further push as the two countries have already completed a joint study on it. The study will go before the two governments before the signing of the agreement,'' said sources in the Indian high commission.

A social security agreement is also likely to be inked to exempt professionals two countries from making mandatory social security contributions.