New Delhi: French
President Nicolas Sarkozy Monday vigorously pitched for India's
claim for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council as the two
sides launched a new phase in their civil nuclear cooperation by
signing five atomic pacts for building two 1,650 MW nuclear
reactors at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.
France also underlined solidarity with India against terrorism and
asked Pakistan to act against "safe havens and sanctuaries for
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sarkozy held talks for nearly 90
minutes that focused on expanding civil nuclear cooperation and
forging closer links in the field of defence, space, education and
The two leaders also discussed a host of global issues including
UN reforms, global terrorism, reforms of international financial
institutions, the G20 forum of major and emerging economies and
Besides five atomic pacts, the two sides signed a pact for
co-production of films and another agreement for space cooperation
in the field of earth science and climate.
They sought to nearly double bilateral trade to 12 billion euros
France's long-term plan to build six reactors in India for
producing 10,000 mw electricity over the next few years formed the
centrepiece of Sarkozy's four-day presidential visit to India that
The two sides signed five nuclear-related pacts, including an
early works agreement and a general framework agreement between
French nuclear giant Areva and the Nuclear Power Corpn of India
Limited (NPCIL) for implementation of two European Pressurized
Reactors (EPRs) at Jaitapur.
"In the field of nuclear energy, negotiations have reached an
advanced stage to pave the way for the launching of nuclear power
reactors in Jaitapur in partnership with Indian industry,"
Manmohan Singh said at a joint press conference with Sarkozy.
Several other agreements to expand interaction in the nuclear
sector to areas such as research and training of scientists and
students, nuclear safety, nuclear waste management and regulatory
practices have been concluded, he said.
Sarkozy said that France would eventually build six nuclear
reactors in India and backed New Delhi's full membership in elite
multilateral nuclear clubs, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group,
Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group, and Wassenaar
"When I came in 2008 I had said India should be able to access and
be a member of all nuclear fora. We have not come to visit as a
major client, we have come to visit a partner in the nuclear area
and our cooperation here is limitless. This is only the beginning
of six reactors," he said.
Sarkozy is understood to have voiced concerns over some aspects of
the civil nuclear liability law, but the issue relating to
suppliers' liability is yet to be resolved.
"Following India's enactment of a civil nuclear liability
legislation, both countries stand ready to further exchange views
on this issue so as to ensure the appropriate framework for the
sound development of their cooperation," said the joint statement
entitled "India-France: Partnership for the future."
Manmohan Singh admitted that some technical and pricing issues
relating to nuclear reactors have yet to be resolved.
Barely a month after US President Barack Obama declared support
for India's candidature for a permanent seat in the UN Security
Council, Sarkozy reiterated France's support, saying New Delh's
inclusion on the UN high table was important for global balance.
"It is not just an important matter for India but for the
equilibrium of the world," Sarkozy said. He reiterated that it was
unfair that a country of one billion should be kept out of the
UNSC high table. "India's claim should be rightly as permanent
member," said Sarkozy.
In yet another boost to India's struggle against terrorism
emanating from Pakistani territory, France supported India's
concerns "at the continuing existence of safe havens and
sanctuaries for terrorist groups beyond Afghanistan's borders and
resurgence of terrorist groups.
"Our cooperation on counter-terrorism is without limits and when
Mumbai became a martyr city with hundreds killed and injured,
France stood shoulder to shoulder with India," said Sarkozy at the
joint press conference.
"France will do all it can to help India. Pakistan must live in
peace alongside its Indian neighbours. We call upon Pakistan to
fight terrorism and we have the same understanding of events in
Afghanistan and applaud India's commitment to help develop a
prosperous Afghanistan," said Sarkozy.
Sarkozy is expected to reiterate this message when he visits
Mumbai's Taj Mahal Hotel and Tower and the Oberoi Trident, two key
targets during the 2008 terror attack, in Mumbai Tuesday, the last
day of his visit to India.
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