India to be major polluter without N-power: Chirac

On the eve of his visit, French Prez said that there was no rivalry with the US when it came to helping India develop.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 23:52 IST

French President Jacques Chirac has said that India will become a major polluter unless it generates electricity using nuclear power.

"If we don't help India produce electricity using nuclear power, we would let develop in India a chimney for greenhouse gases," he said in Bangkok, a day before leaving for a two-day visit to New Delhi.

India and France are expected to sign a declaration of intent on the development of nuclear energy for civilian use during Chirac's visit.

"The minimum we must do is to let India respond to its energy needs without becoming a major polluting nation," Chirac said.

"I wish that we could, within the non-proliferation framework and existing agreements, help India respond to this need," he said.

Ahead of Chirac's visit, French Ambassador Dominique Girard said that India would need to place more of its nuclear facilities under international supervision to win access to crucial civilian technology.

India, which came out of the nuclear closet in 1998, is currently negotiating a landmark deal with Washington that would give New Delhi access to previously forbidden nuclear technology.

Washington had agreed last July to share the technology with New Delhi provided India separated its military and civilian nuclear facilities and allowed international inspections.

US President George W Bush, who will be travelling to New Delhi in March, has defended the US-India agreement as a "good policy".

Chirac said that there was no rivalry with the United States when it came to helping India develop.

First Published: Feb 18, 2006 20:54 IST