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Nuclear,space deals may be inked during Sarkozy’s visit

India and France are expected to sign agreements on civil nuclear cooperation.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 2, 2010 2:14:56 am

India and France are expected to sign agreements on civil nuclear cooperation,space and culture during the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy,who arrives Saturday. No defence deals are expected to be signed,officials said here Wednesday.

Sarkozy will be accompanied by his top cabinet ministers,including ministers of defence,external affairs,environment and education. The delegation will also have senior officials and business leaders from France.

T P Seetharam,Joint Secretary (in charge of France) in Ministry of External Affairs said: “I believe there is a framework agreement,one or more in fact. Frameworks agreement between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Areva (French company) are under negotiation,and if they manage to wrap it up over the next few days,we will have those signed.”

“These are general framework agreements on early work. These are possibly concluded and may be signed… It is for supply of two European pressure reactors,initially,which will gradually increase to six in number,” Seetharam said.

The early contract is essential to start implementation of the 10,000-MW nuclear project at Jaitapur. Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) will subsequently enter into other technical contracts and start construction by March 2011.

This will be followed by inter-government agreements pertaining to confidentiality and Intellectual Property Rights. A pact in space cooperation is also expected to be signed,to help collaboration in earth sciences and climate programme and will entail launching of satellites. Seetharam ruled out major defence deals but said the visit would provide a momentum in negotiation of deals.

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