Canada-India nuke deal could allow government-owned firm to re-enter Indian market

November 15th, 2008 - 2:06 pm ICT by ANI  

Ottawa, Nov.15 (ANI): If Canada and India reach an agreement on civil nuclear cooperation, the federally owned AECL Ltd, would be in a position to re-enter the Indian market after 35 years.
According to a report in the Globe and Mail, Canada is currently negotiating a nuclear co-operation agreement with India that would allow AECL to re-establish business ties, despite concerns that India has not signed the international nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The negotiations come after Canada backed a decision by the international Nuclear Suppliers Group to provide an exemption for India that would allow it to develop civilian nuclear power even as it maintains its right to develop weapons without international scrutiny.
Critics complain that the West’’s special treatment of India will spark a new arms race with Pakistan and undermine the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and argue Canada should hold out for stringent conditions in any bilateral accord.
In an interview from India, AECL chief executive Hugh MacDiarmid said the Crown-owned company is hopeful of getting major service work on the country’’s aging fleet of heavy-water reactors, and potentially even the sale of a new reactor.
The AECL group met with senior officials from India’’s Department of Atomic Energy, and from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., which has said it intends to build or buy up to 20 reactors over the next 12 years.
AECL’’s own future remains very much in doubt as the federal government is reviewing its ownership and considering selling off the 60-year-old Crown corporation, either entirely or to a minority partner.
Whether it sells AECL or keeps it, Ottawa is keen to put the company on a stronger commercial footing, and that means ensuring it has access to growing emerging markets such as India’’s. (ANI)

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