India, France to discuss eurozone crisis, AfPak, n-deal

October 19th, 2011 - 8:23 pm ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram New Delhi, Oct 19 (IANS) India will Thursday urge France, the host of the forthcoming G20 summit, to help evolve a credible recovery plan to combat the eurozone crisis and discuss a swathe of issues, including the Afghanistan-Pakistan situation and bilateral civil cooperation.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe touches down here Thursday on a three-day visit to hold a wide-ranging strategic dialogue with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna.

He will also meet Home Minister P. Chidambaram and call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to invite him formally for the G20 summit of emerging and developed economies that France will host in Cannes early next month.

In the delegation-level talks between Krishna and Juppe, issues relating to the financial crisis in the eurozone and developed economies, including the US, will be top of the agenda.

Speaking at the 5th IBSA summit in Pretoria, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday had stressed that the debt crisis in Europe and the financial slowdown in the developed world were sending negative signals to the world’s financial markets and affecting development prospects of developing countries.

Krishna is expected to voice India’s concerns over the eurozone crisis and urge France, Europe’s second largest economy, to take the lead in evolving a credible recovery plan.

New Delhi is also expected to press for a greater voice for developing countries in international financial institutions that have become the fiefdom of developed countries over the years, said well-placed sources.

Also on the table will be a cluster of regional and global issues, including terror emanating from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the Syria crisis, climate change and the UN reforms. Enhancing counter-terror cooperation will figure prominently in the talks.

India is expected to tell France about the recent strategic partnership pact with Afghanistan and share concerns about safe havens of terrorists and extremists like the Haqqani network that continue to operate with impunity in the region, said the sources.

Juppe will outline France’s vision of its strategic partnership with India at a lecture Friday.

The talks are also expected to give an impetus to bilateral civil nuclear cooperation between France and India. Paris is likely to seek renewed assurance from New Delhi about its civil nuclear liability regime, seen as onerous by many countries.

Juppe’s visit comes amid growing concerns in India over nuclear safety and protests against the Russia-built Kudankulam nuclear plant. He is expected to assure New Delhi about stringent safety standards followed by French nuclear giants like Areva which is in the middle of discussions to build two 1,650 MW reactors in Jaitapur in western India.

Unfazed by the Fukushima nuclear radiation leak, France, a leader in civilian nuclear technology, is in the middle of negotiating nuclear deals with a host of European countries and emerging economies.

France was the first country to sign a bilateral civil nuclear accord with India September 2008 after the Nuclear Suppliers Group amended global rules of nuclear commerce in India’s favour.

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