‘Drafts of civil nuclear pacts with Russia, France ready’

March 12th, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Gordon Brown

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) Even as its nuclear deal with the US remains stuck in domestic politics, the government Wednesday said India has finalized the texts of civil nuclear agreement with Russia and France and is interested in nuclear cooperation with all friendly countries. “The texts of agreement of cooperation in civil nuclear sector have been finalized with the US, France and Russia,” Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan said in response to a question in the Lok Sabha.

A joint statement issued on the occasion of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s visit to India in January this year reflects mutual interest about cooperation in this sector, he added.

“The government will like to pursue cooperation in the civil nuclear sector with all interested friendly countries,” Chavan said in a bid to underline the global import of the India-US nuclear deal that aims at the resumption of global nuclear trade with New Delhi after nearly three decades.

The government’s emphasis on the finalization of draft nuclear pacts with Russia and France was clearly aimed at its Left allies, which have been unrelenting in their opposition to the deal, The Left parties suspect the nuclear deal with the US can make India subservient to the US’ strategic interests.

The government will underline the global scope of the deal at the next meeting between the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left allies, likely to take place Monday, which will discuss the draft of India-specific safeguards pact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Left parties will have to approve the draft IAEA pact before the government can go ahead with the deal.

The government has been trying to convince its Left allies to shed opposition to the deal, saying the deal will not only reopen doors to nuclear commerce with the US but with other friendly countries like Russia and France.

The US has reiterated many a time recently that India needs to conclude the IAEA pact by May so that the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) can decide on changing rules of global commerce in favour of India and the US Congress endorses the deal by July before it gets caught in election-year politics.

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