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N-deal: France charts its own course

France said that its N-declaration with India was not linked to Indo-US deal.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2006 13:23 IST

France has dismissed suggestions that its nuclear dealing with India was "predicated upon" successful passage of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement in the US Congress.

It has said it will continue to press for waiver of restrictions on India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the UN atomic energy agency.

"We would like to clarify that the Franco-Indian nuclear co-operation declaration (signed in February this year) is not predicated upon or linked to successful passage of the Indo-US nuclear deal by the Congress," French Ambassador to India, Dominique Girard said.

Girard's remarks assume significance as India and the US formally launched negotiations in New Delhi on Monday on the bilateral nuclear co-operation agreement.

"What happens to the Indo-US nuclear deal is a bilateral matter between both countries and it is not a condition for furthering our nuclear relation with India," he said.

"We, on our side, are fully convinced regarding India's stand on the separation of its civilian and nuclear facilities and its commitment on use of nuclear material," Girard said.

Asked what stand France would take on waiver of restrictions on India with regard to supply of nuclear fuel by the 45-member NSG and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Girard said his country would "wholeheartedly back" any effort by India in its "legitimate quest for nuclear energy."

First Published: Jun 13, 2006 10:19 IST