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France wants N-coop with India

France expresses interest in forging civil nuclear cooperation with India but said it would await the outcome of talks between New Delhi and IAEA on a safeguards agreement.

world Updated: Dec 21, 2007 16:02 IST

France on Friday expressed interest in forging civil nuclear cooperation with India but said it would await the outcome of talks between New Delhi and IAEA on a safeguards agreement.

The European country, which generates 90 per cent of electricity using atomic energy, said India needed to be brought into the international nuclear mainstream.

"We are in favour of initialing a sort of strategic agreement but we have to wait for the International Atomic Energy Agency," visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told journalists in New Delhi soon after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Kouchner, who held wide-ranging talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday, said France is in "favour of India getting back to the international nuclear power agency. We have to create a situation in terms of international law. We are waiting for that."

Civil nuclear cooperation figured in the discussions between Mukherjee and Kouchner, with the Indian side apprising the French leader about the ongoing talks with IAEA for the proposed safeguards agreement as a follow up to the atomic deal with the US.

Paris has maintained that India needed to be brought into the nuclear mainstream as it would benefit the NPT system.

Kouchner, whose visit takes place about a month ahead of President Nicholas Sarkozy's maiden tour here, said the two countries were working on a number of agreements.

"We have a lot of projects and we are eager to see their results during the visit of the President," he said.