India, France to hold talks; n-deal on agenda

October 13th, 2011 - 3:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) Ahead of the G20 summit of emerging and developed economies, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe comes to India next week for talks that will focus on the shifting international financial situation and civil nuclear cooperation between the two countries.

Juppe will be here Oct 20-21 on a working visit, during which he will hold talks with External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the French embassy said here Thursday.

Juppe will also interact with Indian industrialists and members of the French community in Delhi.

The French foreign minister comes here weeks ahead of the G20 summit his country will host in early November.

The summit is expected to focus on reforms of the international financial architecture and a host of global issues, including the festering economic crisis in Europe and the developed world. These issues will be discussed during bilateral talks Juppe will hold with Indian leaders.

The talks are also expected to push plans for bilateral civil nuclear cooperation between France and India. Issues relating to India’s civil nuclear liability regime, seen as onerous by many countries, will also figure in the discussions.

Juppe’s visit comes amid mounting concerns in India over nuclear safety and protests against the Russia-built Kudankulam nuclear plant. The French minister is expected to assure his Indian interlocutors 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.

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.

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.

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