India, France sign peaceful nuclear deal

By agencies   |   Monday, 20 February 2006, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Fuel-hungry India and France, a big nuclear power producer, signed a declaration saying they wanted to pursue nuclear energy cooperation “exclusively for peaceful purposes.”

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Anil Kakodkar, chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission, signed the declaration in the presence of French President Jacques Chirac and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday.

Both the country, which relies heavily on nuclear power to meet its energy needs, affirmed in the declaration “their willingness to further develop their cooperation in the use of nuclear energy exclusively for peaceful purposes.”

Chirac, whose visit will be followed by the arrival of the U.S. President, George W Bush in early March, has said he will seek to boost slim trade level with Asia’s third largest economy where growth is running at an eight percent clip.

The President arrived with five ministers, including his foreign minister, and about 30 top business leaders, keen to help expand bilateral trade.

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