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India, France to sign several deals during Sarkozy visit

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in a meeting with the President of France Mr Nicholas Sarkozy on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on April 13 2010. A file photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and France will ink a couple of pacts during the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy who arrives in the country on Saturday seeking to strengthen bilateral ties in key areas of space and civil nuclear cooperation.

Sarkozy will be accompanied by his singer-model wife Carla Bruni and a high-level delegation, including several key ministers of his cabinet, senior officials, business-persons and the media.

During his stay, the French President will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visit the Taj Mahal with his wife among other engagements.

"I believe there is a framework agreement, one or more in fact. Frameworks agreement between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Areva (French company) are under negotiations and if they manage to wrap it up over the next couple of days, we will have those signed.

"These are general framework and framework agreement on early work. These are possibly concluded and may be signed.....It is for supply of two European pressure reactors, initially, which will gradually increase to six in numbers," T P Seetharam, Joint Secretary (Europe West) in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The early contract is essential to start implementation of the 10,000-MW nuclear project at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.

NPCIL will subsequently enter into other technical contracts and start construction by March 2011.

While the pact between NPCIL and Areva will be commercial in nature, it will be followed by inter-government agreements pertaining to confidentiality and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

Besides this, a pact in space cooperation is also expected to be signed which will help collaboration between the two countries in the field of earth sciences and climate programme and will also entail launching of satellites.

Seetharam ruled out signing of any major defence deal during the Presidential visit but said it will provide a momentum in the negotiations of deals, including upgradation of nearly 50 French Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft currently being used by Indian Air Force.

Sarkozy will begin his trip from Bangalore where he goes to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and interacts with top scientists from across the country.

Next day, he will proceed on a private trip to Agra where the first couple will visit the monument of love--the Taj Mahal. On December 6, Sarkozy will call on President Pratibha Patil and hold talks with Singh in New Delhi.

He will travel to Mumbai on December 7 where he visits the Police Memorial of 26/11, attend a community function for giving awards to Taj/Oberoi management for their support to French nationals during the terror attacks and participate in a business conference.


India  France  defence  

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