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EU for frank talks on Indo-US deal

While EU understands India's interest to diversify its nuclear supplies, it is also concerned about proliferation issues.

india Updated: Oct 09, 2006 17:12 IST

Ahead of the India-EU summit, the European Union on Monday said that it had several bilateral agreements "in the pipeline" and looked forward to "frank and friendly" discussions with New Delhi on a number of issues, including on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal.

"The fact is that European Union is exploring this issue (Indo-US deal) carefully. (However,) no common position has been arrived at. We are exploring it from different important angles," Finnish Ambassador to India Asko Numminen said.

"One (of the angles) is India's interest to diversify its nuclear supplies to benefit from nuclear energy... Other aspect is relating to non-proliferation issues which has to be considered," he said, even while terming the nuclear test by North Korea today as a "serious development."

He said discussions on the Indo-US nuclear deal could also come up the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group this week.

Under the deal, firmed up in March during US President George W Bush's visit, the NSG is required to adjust its guidelines for allowing the international community to have atomic trade with India. For this, consensus is required in the NSG.

New Delhi and Washington are currently engaged in persuading the NSG members to support the deal. A majority of the NSG members, including Britain and France, have committed their support for the deal, but some have reservations.

Addressing a joint conference with EU Ambassador-Head of Delegation (India) Francisco da Camara Santa Clara Gomes, Numminen said India and EU have both suffered due to terrorism and were cooperating at different levels to counter the menace.