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Finland to support India's nuclear deal

world Updated: Apr 18, 2007 10:04 IST
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Finland, a key member of Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG), has promised to support India's integration with international civil nuclear commerce once New Delhi and Washington operationalise their bilateral deal on nuclear cooperation.

"We are closely watching the developments in the negotiations between India and US on the 123 agreement for the civilian nuclear cooperation and would take a decision once something positive comes out of it," Deputy Director of Finnish External Affairs Ministry Finland Rauli Suikkanen told Indian journalists.

Some of the issues relating to the civil nuclear cooperation will be discussed at the 45-nation NSG meeting in Cape Town beginning on April 19, he said.

The 27-member European Union, including Finland, is keen to explore the possibilities of cooperation in civilian nuclear energy with India and expected to extend an economic assistance of 470 million Euros for the next five years, of which one-third will be directed to joint action plans in the fields of energy and telecommunication.

Suikkanen said Finland has noted the statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin recently on possible supply of a few more nuclear reactors to India and "we hope as an NSG country we will be able to decide to support India in a big way as we are coming in closer cooperation with India as is evident in several bilateral meetings between the leaders of both the countries".

Suikannen said although Finland is not producing nuclear technology, "we are only buying from others but the NSG's confidence will be boosted with Finland's upcoming largest nuclear power plant which is a multinational effort".

He said Finland is seeking greater engagement with India in tackling global challenges of common concern including climate change, non-proliferation and promotion of cross cultures.

"For Finland, India is a leading nation in many ways and we have recently elevated the relations with India through improved Finnair services and are planning to sign broader agreements on science and technology and cultural exchanges," he said.

Although the general public knows more about China than India, "we are trying to improve the relations with India and the meeting in New Delhi between the two countries this week is yet another proof of that".

Suikannen said Finland is exploring possibilities of opening a Counsul General office in Mumbai soon, adding this will promote more tourism as well as trade and business relations between the two countries.

He said Finnair service between New Delhi and Helsinki which was three times a week since November 2006 will be made a daily service from June this year.

The air service between Mumbai and Helsinki, which is beginning next month, will be thrice a week affair, he said.

Asked whether Finland companies are planning to invest more money in India, Suikannen said "I know only Nokia and some of its suppliers, including Elcotec SE, which are getting established in India."

Asked if the people in Finland are worried about unemployment as the giant companies are going to India and China, Suikkanen said initially there was a problem but Finnish people understand the process of globalisation well and take it gracefully.

In fact, Indo-Finnish relations both politically and economically are improving and trade is increasing and so also the investments, he said adding, a few Indian companies are exploring possibilities of setting up their business in Finland. He did not name the Indian entities.