Harish Khare

Nuclear cooperation accord today

Summit re-affirms strategic partnership

Annual trade target of 100 billion euros

MARSEILLE: On the eve of the proposed India-France framework agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation, the European Union welcomed India’s emergence out of the nuclear denial regime.

“How can we talk of the problem of climate change and yet deny India access to nuclear energy, the cleanest form of energy. We trust India, and we trust the Prime Minister,” argued President Nicolas Sarkozy at a joint press conference along with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, at the end of the ninth India-European Union summit held here on Monday.

Dr. Singh and Mr. Sarkozy told media persons that they hoped to be able to announce “some good results” about the nuclear agreement between the two countries, to be finalised in Paris on Tuesday.

The summit re-affirmed the strategic partnership, based on “shared values of democracy and human rights, fundamental freedoms (including religious), pluralism, rule of law and multilateralism.”

The European side was represented by President Sarkozy, in his capacity as the current President of the European Council, Mr. Barroso, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and others. The Indian delegation included, besides the Prime Minister, Union Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan.

The Prime Minister declared himself to be “extremely satisfied” with the talks.

The two sides have set out to achieve over the next five years an annual trade target of 100 billion euros.

However, the focus of the summit was on cooperation on energy, clean development and climate change. The two sides agreed that the fight against climate change was “closely linked to the fight against poverty, inequality and exclusion.”

In their review of the regional and international issues, the leaders were in agreement on the need to work towards “national reconciliation” in Myanmar and urged “an inclusive dialogue” with the dissident leaders like Aung San Suu Kyi. The French President termed the Myanmar army leadership’s attitude as “intolerant” but stopped short of advising India what to do.

There was also agreement on combating terrorism. The two sides were in favour of an early conclusion of the “Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations.”

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