India and Germany are exploring the possibilities of a civil nuclear commerce partnership to take forward their strategic ties, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said.
Manmohan Singh, after a meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Saturday, told reporters: "On the bilateral side, we deeply value Germany's consistent support, including in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for the opening of international commerce for India in the field of civil nuclear energy. We have discussed the possibilities of entering into bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy."
The prime minister said his meeting with Merkel also focused on promoting cooperation in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Chancellor Merkel told reporters that the bilateral ties between India and Germany were of "strategic nature" devoid of any trust deficit.
"Our partnership with India is of a strategic nature. Our goals are ambitious and there is no trust deficit, on the contrary we are cooperating very well," Merkel said
India has an ambitious plan of generating 20,000 MW of nuclear power by 2020. It has signed civil nuclear agreements with France, the US, Russia, Canada and Britain.
Speaking to reporters who accompanied the prime minister on his two-nation European trip on way back home, Secretary (West) in the ministry of external affairs, Vivek Katju, said Germany's competitiveness in this sector can help India in its ambitious civil nuclear programme.
"Germany has experienced significant competitiveness in this field. Their considerable power needs are met through nuclear energy. This will help us in our progress to generate civil nuclear energy. This will now be explored further," Katju told reporters on board the prime minister's special aircraft.
Germany has expressed its willingness to help India in developing turbine technology for nuclear reactors and also in safety measures for such plants.
The Indian prime minister was in Berlin on Saturday on a day-long visit after attending the 11th EU-India summit in Brussels on Friday, during which they announced a near-breakthrough in four years of stalled talks over the trade agreement.