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Civil nuclear cooperation ‘important pillar’ of India-France engagement: Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj said apart from atomic energy, cooperation in defence and space constitute the principal pillars of the bilateral strategic partnership.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2017 22:09 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
India,France,Indian Ocean region
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj meets minister for Europe and foreign affairs of France Jean-Yves Le Drian in New Delhi on Friday.(PTI Photo)

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today that civil nuclear cooperation was an “important pillar” of India’s engagement with France and the two countries have discussed “concrete ways” to expeditiously implement the 9,900 MW Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP).

Addressing a joint press event with her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, Swaraj said that apart from atomic energy, cooperation in defence and space constitute the principal pillars of the bilateral strategic partnership.

For India, France was one of the first countries to have a high degree of cooperation in the strategic area.

It was also the first country to have signed the civil nuclear cooperation agreement in 2008 - even before the United States - after the Nuclear Suppliers Group gave a unique waiver to India despite New Delhi not being a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

“The civil nuclear cooperation is an important pillar of our bilateral engagement. Both sides discussed concrete ways to expeditiously implement the Jaitapur project,” Swaraj said.

As part of the nuclear cooperation agreement India and France signed in 2008, Paris is to help New Delhi build six atomic power reactors of 1,650 MW each at Jaitapur, some 500 kms south of Mumbai.

French firm EDF will build the six reactors of the long- pending JNPP, with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) as its operator.

Swaraj also said that France has provided a “consistent support” to India’s candidature for the membership of multilateral export control regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassennar Arrangement, and the Australia Group.

“France’s support was vital in India’s accession to the The Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016,” Swaraj noted.

The JNPP was first envisioned in 2009 and the deal was signed between Areva S.A. and the NPCIL in 2010. The six power reactors are to be built using the European Pressurised Reactor (CPR) technology.

First Published: Nov 17, 2017 18:29 IST