New Beginning: India and Canada have decided on a civil nuclear deal that will enable New Delhi to import Canadian nuclear technology and uranium after a gap of 34 years. The pact is likely to be inked during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Canada in June.
The deal was announced on Saturday after Manmohan Singh held talks with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper on the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Port of Spain.
“We have now got an agreement which means this is a tremendous opportunity for both countries,” Harper said while describing it as “a tremendous step forward” in bilateral relations.
“Canada is a supplier, obviously an integrated supplier in the nuclear energy field, and India is an expanding economy that has great energy needs,” he added.
The agreement promises to add new warmth to bilateral ties that have remained cold since Canada cut off atomic trade after India tested its nuclear prowess in 1974.
Harper on a recent visit to India ironed out official differences in the deal that allows India access to nuclear material and technology without being a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT).
He, however, added that it will take “a little time to complete the normal legal text and the ratification process”.
India has already inked bilateral civil nuclear agreements with the US, France, Russia, Kazakhstan, Namibia and Mongolia.