India, France likely to sign deal for nuclear fuel supply | india | Hindustan Times
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India, France likely to sign deal for nuclear fuel supply

india Updated: Sep 22, 2008 19:04 IST

Having secured the NSG waiver, India is likely to sign bilateral agreements with France for supply of nuclear fuel during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Paris next week and a similar deal with Russia later this year, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Monday.

Singh, who left today on a 10-day trip to the US and France, is expected to firm up an agreement on civil nuclear energy cooperation after summit talks with President Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris on September 30.

"We are trying for bilateral agreements with several countries. Prime Minister may consider it when he visits France for the India-European Union Summit" next week, Mukherjee told a convention on 'Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation and its future impact' here.

A similar deal is also likely to be signed with Russia during President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to India in December this year.

Expressing hope that the US Congress would ratify the 123 Agreement by September 25, the minister said that although the ratification was pending, it would not prevent India from having bilateral agreements with other countries for supply of nuclear fuel. "India specific safety agreement is just a passport to enter into nuclear trade with any country. We now need a visa," he said.

Responding to criticism that the 123 Agreement would compromise India's sovereignty, Mukherjee said "there is nothing in that agreement, or in the India specific safeguards agreement, nor in the waiver by the NSG, that can compromise India's decision-making."