A path breaking multi-million dollar contract was announced on Wednesday between India and a Canadian company, Cameco Corporation, to supply over seven million pounds of uranium concentrate, over a five year time-frame.
The deal was termed as the launch of a new era in bilateral cooperation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was announced during a joint signing ceremony in the presence of his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper.
The Prime Minister said, “The agreement on procurement of uranium from Canada for our civilian nuclear power plants launches a new era of bilateral nuclear cooperation. It also reflects a new level of mutual trust and confidence. Further, it will contribute to India’s efforts to power its growth with clean energy.”
Harper was also pleased at the completion of the long-pending deal, as he said, “Canada and India have a longstanding and mutual interest in expanding our trade relationship, particularly in the area of energy cooperation. This contract is a clear signal that our countries are open for expanding business partnerships together.”
The agreement became possible, according to the Canadian government, after the Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) came into force in September 2013.
The deal is worth approximately $350 million at current market rates, and could be renewed after five years.
In an interview after the event, Cameco’s president and CEO Tim Gitzel told HT, “We’ve been looking at the Indian market. This is a big deal, for Canada, for Saskatchewan and for Cameco.”
Cameco is headquartered in the city of Saskatoon in the prairie province of Saskatchewan and accounts for nearly 16% of the world’s production of uranium.
This is a breakthrough, given the decades of distrust between the two countries on nuclear issues.
As Modi pointedly said, “This is a symbol of trust. Trust is the biggest source of energy that in the coming days will improve our relations.”
Speaking to HT, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, “This agreement epitomises a futuristic approach in our ties — where we can take it, rather than where it has come from.”