It might take a few more days with the US, but India is all set to sign a ground-breaking civil nuclear cooperation agreement with France during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Paris on Tuesday.
The agreement with France will be the first since the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) allowed members to trade in civil nuclear items with India on September 6.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who leaves for France early Sunday, will attend the India-European Union (EU) summit in Marseilles on Monday and then move to Paris for the second leg of his visit.
India and the US, meanwhile, are negotiating dates for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to New Delhi. Rice is likely to be in New Delhi on either October 3 or 4, when the two countries are expected to sigh the deal, provided Congressional nod comes through.
India and France have already concluded a bilateral agreement for the sale of nuclear reactors and fuel to India.
Singh mentioned counter-terrorism as another area of cooperation with the EU. The summit is also likely to give fresh impetus to negotiations started last year for a maritime accord and a free-trade agreement.
Security Council reforms
Earlier, in his address to the UN General Assembly, the PM regretted that there had been “little progress on the core elements of the reform agenda” of the international body. He said more determined efforts should be made to “revitalize the General Assembly to enable it to fulfil its rightful role as the principal deliberative organ of the United Nations".
“The composition of the Security Council needs to change to reflect contemporary realities of the 21st century,” the PM said. India has long argued that it meets all the requirements to occupy a permanent seat on the Council.
The process of globalisation should be made more inclusive across and within nations. He also said a second Green Revolution was necessary to resolve the global food crisis.