India, France have common views on n-energy: French minister

September 17th, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) Making a pitch for nuclear energy as an eco-friendly fuel ahead of the India-EU summit Sep 29, French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Anne-Marie Idrac Wednesday said the two countries are poised to become “strategic partners in the field of energy”. “France and India can become strategic partners in the energy field since they share common views on the role of nuclear energy in the new global energy mix,” the French minister told students at the Management Development Institute, Gurgaon.

Underlining that greater use of nuclear energy dovetails into France’s strategy to counter climate change, Idrac, on a two-day visit to India, said France will provide India access to low-cost clean technologies.

“France has made climate change the number one priority for its presidency (of EU). To counter global warming, France will support India to allow it to benefit from suitable technologies without their cost becoming a hindrance to growth or to an improvement in living standards,” she said.

India and France signed a joint declaration to fight climate change during French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s India visit early this year.

Speaking at a function Tuesday, the French minister had said that the Nuclear Suppliers Group’s “historic” waiver to India had “opened the way” for signing of a bilateral agreement for nuclear trade between the two countries.

The proposed nuclear pact will figure prominently in discussions between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and French President Sarkozy in Paris Sep 30, during Manmohan Singh’s visit, but it’s not clear whether the pact will be signed.

The signing of an Indo-French nuclear pact will depend on the approval of the India-US 123 pact through the US Congress, which is likely to happen by the time Manmohan Singh meets President George W. Bush in Washington Sep 25.

Idrac also outlined three priorities of the French presidency of the EU: putting Europe in the forefront of the fight against global warming, advancing our agricultural policy and developing a common, balanced immigration policy.

Alluding to the Economic Modernization Act enacted in July, Idrac projected France’s increasing attractiveness as a hub of foreign investments.

“France will be able to consolidate its position as the most competitive country in Europe for the establishment of companies,” she said.

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