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India nears nuclear pacts with France, Russia: govt

by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) Sept 11, 2008
India is finalising bilateral pacts with countries including France and Russia for the import of civilian atomic power plants and technology, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday.

The announcement comes days after the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which controls the export and sale of nuclear technology worldwide, amended its rules to allow India to buy equipment and expertise to fuel its booming economy.

New Delhi is also in talks with US companies, foreign ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

"Following the NSG statement which enables civil nuclear cooperation by NSG members with India, the government is taking steps to realise commercial cooperation with foreign partners," Sarna said.

New Delhi is moving towards bilateral agreements with "friendly partner countries such as France and Russia," he said.

The agreements with both Russia and France are ready for signing, officials have said.

The NSG approval followed the United States leaning on several countries opposed to the India-specific amendment in Vienna last weekend.

It was a pact agreed with the United States in 2006 that opened the possibility of India buying nuclear plants and related technology.

The pact with the US offers India an end to its three-decades old nuclear pariah status, as long as New Delhi allows UN nuclear inspections of some of its nuclear facilities.

Despite the NSG go-ahead, New Delhi and Washington are awaiting approval of their bilateral pact that the White House sent to the Congress on Thursday.

"While actual cooperation will commence after bilateral agreements like the (India-US) agreement come into force, the Nuclear Power Cooperation of India has already commenced preliminary dialogue with US companies," the foreign ministry spokesman added.

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White House sends India nuclear deal to Congress
Washington (AFP) Sept 10, 2008
The White House said late Wednesday it sent the text of a landmark US-India civilian nuclear agreement to Congress for final approval but it remains unclear if lawmakers will give the accord the greenlight.

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