Sarkozy backs UNSC bid, India-France ink n-deals (Lead)

December 6th, 2010 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Dec 6 (IANS) French President Nicolas Sarkozy Monday backed India’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council and also called upon Pakistan to fight terrorism even as India and France signed seven deals, most of them for setting up two nuclear plants.

“It (UNSC seat) is not just an important matter for India but for the equilibrium of the world,” Sarkozy said in his opening remarks at a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after the two held talks at the Hyderabad House here.

“After its two-year term, are we going to ask India to simply to stand down?” he asked, referring to India becoming a non-permanent member of the Security Council from Jan 1, 2011.

He reiterated that it was unfair that a country of one billion should be kept out of the UNSC high table. “India’s claim should be rightly as permanent member.”

Calling upon Pakistan to fight terrorism with determination, he appreciated India’s efforts to “stretch out its hand” towards its South Asian neighbour.

“We applaud India’s effort to stretch out its hand. We call upon Pakistan to fight terrorism determinedly,” Sarkozy said in reply to a query on counter-terrorism cooperation.

Manmohan Singh thanked France for being a “consistent advocate” of India’s candidature for a permanent Security Council seat.

“France has been a consistent advocate of India’s permanent membership of the Security Council. It has also been an active supporter of India in other international forums, for which we are grateful,” he said.

Civil nuclear power was the major theme of the seven bilateral deals signed after delegation-level talks, which included a general framework and early works agreement between India’s Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd and France’s Areva for setting up two nuclear power plants at Jaitpur, Maharashtra.

Manmohan Singh noted that there were some “technical matters, such as related to price”, which were still “subject to negotiation”.

Two agreements were signed for joint film production, as well as for cooperation between the national space agencies in the sector of earth sciences and climate change.

The Indian leader said both nations had reasserted their determination to achieve the “trade target of 12 billion Euros by 2012″.

“We value the role being played by the India-France CEOs Forum. We will examine their recommendations on increasing investments in the energy, water and infrastructure sectors, establishment of joint ventures in third countries, and enhancing collaboration in areas of R&D and higher education,” Manmohan Singh said.

Sarkozy pointed out that France, as the new chairman of G-20 group of nations, wanted to make joint proposals with India on the regulation of commodity prices and food security.

Sarkozy pointed out that France had stood “shoulder-to-shoulder” with India in the aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack in which two French officials were among the 166 victims. “Our cooperation on counter-terrorism is without limits.”

He said he appreciated Manmohan Singh’s effort to reach out to Pakistan, despite the Indian public opinion being “deeply shocked and traumatised” by the terror savagery.

Sarkozy said in the 21st century, the only way to ensure peace and security was to “develop together and not against another”, making a reference to the European Union, where former foes now work together.

The president said both France and India have the “same reading on Afghanistan”.

Sarkozy is on a four-day visit to India that ends Tuesday.

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