France, India sign nuclear deal as Sarkozy visits Delhi

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France firmed up a 9.3-billion-dollar deal to sell two nuclear reactors to India on Monday following talks between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

India signed a "framework agreement" with France's state-run nuclear group Areva for the purchase of two reactors for a new plant in Jaitapur in the western state of Maharashtra.

"Negotiations (with Areva) have reached an advanced stage to pave the way for the launching of nuclear power reactors in Jaitapur in partnership with Indian industry," Singh told a joint press conference.

The deal is short of a final sale agreement, but it means Arena has moved ahead of competitors from the United States and Japan in the race to sell reactors to India, which is investing heavily in atomic energy.

Russia is already constructing two nuclear power units in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

The Maharashtra plant is set to ultimately have six reactors, but the first two are worth 7.0 billion euros (9.3 billion dollars), according to the French presidency.

Sarkozy is on a four-day trip to India, where he is seeking deeper trade ties while acknowledging his hosts' increased role on the world stage.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama have both swept through India with similar messages recently, as Western nations look for export opportunities in a fast-growing country seen as a natural ally in Asia.

Sarkozy heads a delegation of six ministers and around 70 chief executives, including the bosses of aircraft and defence groups Dassault Aviation and EADS. France recently took over the presidency of the G20 group of developed and major developing economic powers and Sarkozy sought support for his agenda, while also strongly backing a more influential role for India in world affairs.

He reiterated his support for India to have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council -- a key foreign policy objective for New Delhi -- and suggested it might simply transform its current temporary seat in 2012.

According to the French presidency, Singh has pledged his "support" for Sarkozy's G20 programme, which includes overhauling the global monetary system and combating commodity price volatility.

France is also seeking a slice of the billions of dollars earmarked by India for a military upgrade, but competition is fierce among foreign arms manufacturers and no contracts were signed on Monday.

The president and his wife Carla Bruni, a singer and former model, went sight-seeing at the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri on Sunday after a romantic sunset visit to the Taj Mahal on Saturday.

The French leader last visited India in 2008, just before he married Bruni, and he vowed then to return with her to see the Taj Mahal, located in the city of Agra 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Delhi.

"It was Bruni's first visit to the Taj and she seemed completely floored by what she saw," the Times of India reported on Sunday.

Bruni, who is a goodwill ambassador for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is expected to visit an AIDS project on Monday.

Sarkozy began his trip in the southern city of Bangalore, a major technology centre.

On Monday, India and France also signed agreements to cooperate more closely in space -- the countries are to jointly launch satellites to monitor the climate and oceans next year -- and arts and culture.

Sarkozy completes his tour on Tuesday with a trip to Mumbai, India's commercial capital that was hit by Islamist militant attacks two years ago in which 166 people were killed.

Sarkozy's visit comes between that of US President Barack Obama last month and ahead of trips to India by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

© 2010 AFP

2 Comments To This Article

  • Satish Chandra posted:

    on 6th December 2010, 10:31:25 - Reply

  • Satish Chandra posted:

    on 6th December 2010, 10:30:24 - Reply

    I am India’s expert in strategic defence and the father of India’s strategic program, including the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program. I stated the objections to the nuclear deal in my blog titled ‘Nuclear Supremacy For India Over U.S.’ which can be found by a Yahoo search with the title, as follows:-
    1) The first and a fundamental objection is spending untold billions of dollars on imported reactors instead of ploughing the money into India’s own nuclear power program more advanced and more capable (thanks to its nuclear “isolation” and apartheid) than that of the United States in important ways. It can be expanded 10 or 20-fold so India becomes one of the world’s biggest EXPORTERS, not an IMPORTER, of the world’s best and most economical reactors with the shortest time for installation (all this is true of Indian reactors even at this moment). There is significant demand for Indian reactors from other countries. This by itself is enough reason to summarily and totally reject the nuclear deal. Indians, such as the head of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, S. K. Jain, say they will not export them unless they receive permission from the white master. In an act of treason, the National Security Adviser M. K. Nayanan has said that importing uranium from non-NSG countries — the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a cartel like OPEC — will be against “international law”. Similarly, in another act of treason, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his recent visit to Egypt said that India cannot engage in nuclear trade with other countries because it is not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. These statements have gone unchallenged in India’s media controlled by CIA-RAW. India can extract an unlimited amount of uranium from sea water for which the Japanese demonstrated the technology and economic viability decades ago and for which India’s Department of Atomic Energy has developed indigenous technology but the United States has been suppressing this option because it will subvert its attempts to bring and keep countries like India in slavery and Indian politicians and scientists, bought up by the United States, are keeping quiet about it.
    2) The second objection is that the imported reactors will be light water reactors. These will not only make India dependent in perpetuity on imported fuel and vulnerable to all kinds of pressures but, even if an unlimited amount of fuel was somehow magically guaranteed, it will fatally injure both India’s 3-stage nuclear power program and its nuclear weapons program. This is so even if there was not an upper limit of 20% enrichment while reprocessing the waste fuel from the imported reactors. Light water reactors are inherently “proliferation-resistant” (that is, it is difficult to get bomb-grade material from them), though not “proliferation-proof”. In any case, the 20% cap on enrichment (weapons and certain types of reactors require around 95% enrichment) cripples India’s strategic (nuclear weapons) program– because parity with or supremacy over the United States requires at least ten thousand nuclear warheads– and ensures permanent slavery to the white man and permanent serfdom to India.
    When the Russians offered the two light water reactors, now under construction in India at Kalpakkam, the Department of Atomic Energy had strongly opposed it correctly saying that it will only benefit the Russian nuclear industry and light water reactors will break India’s control over the nuclear fuel cycle and subvert India’s 3-stage nuclear power program as well as its nuclear weapons program. But Vajpayee shoved it down India’s throat on the instructions of the C.I.A. which calculated that there will be less resistance to such a disadvantageous deal with the Russians and once a couple of light water reactors have been brought in, it will set the stage for a full-scale American assault to subjugate and disembowel India’s nuclear program. A bought up Kakodkar is now lying and saying that importing Russian reactors was always in the plans. Press reports at the time of Manmohan Singh’s visit to Washington in July, 2004, during which he signed the joint statement of July 18, 2004 with Bush about the nuclear deal, etc., had said Kakodkar had strenuously objected to the deal but was silenced by the traitor ambassador of India in Washington by saying the Prime Minister had to have a “successful” visit. After he was bribed, Bush asked Kakodkar, during his visit to New Delhi in March, 2006 if he was happy now.
    3) Then there are the various requirements in the July 18 ‘05 joint statement such as separation of civilian and military reactors, IAEA inspections on the civilian reactors including all imported ones, the necessity to get Nuclear Suppliers Group approvals, etc. which cripple India’s nuclear program as a whole and bind it hand and foot to the United States.
    4) Then there is the blizzard of demands and restrictions in the Hyde Act and previous U.S. legislation including the prohibition of testing (the latest ‘concession’ by the U.S. on testing simply says that, rather than a test resulting in automatic return of all imported U.S. equipment, the U.S. president may ALLOW India to conduct a test at his pleasure if India begs and convinces the White Master) that make India a total slave to the United States which, even under the documents, will be able to do any damn thing it wants to India in all its internal and external affairs– a serfdom that is comprehensive and complete.
    5) Then there is the United States’ propensity and certainty of doing things to India– once it has India dependent on U.S. reactors, fuel, permissions, etc.– to arm-twist, blackmail and invade if the lesser breeds don’t do everything it wants them to do– the kind of things it has done and is doing to Iraq and will certainly do to India, including its complete nuclear disarmament, participation in U.S.-led military campaigns against other countries, the total colonisation of its economy and manpower to serve American needs, etc.
    Indians on the C.I.A.’s payroll have been pushing this deal which should have been and was instantly and totally rejected, not just by me. The BJP/Vajpayee came out with a written statement rejecting the deal within a couple days of the joint statement of July 18 ‘05 (before the Hyde Act, the 123 agreement, etc.) but they have been yielding to the transgressions of Manmohan Singh progressively and now Advani says everything is fine so long as India can conduct nuclear tests in a Pokhran III! This is extremely stupid, to take the most charitable view of him. [Since I wrote the above, it has become clear that the BJP's Jaswant Singh had made the deal with the U.S. in his numerous meetings with U.S. State Department official Talbott and subsequently, because of which he later congratulated Foreign Secretay Menon for having done a "superb job" of negotiating the 123 agreement and still later said there will be no major changes in the nuclear deal if the BJP returns to power. The BJP's show of opposition was to throw dust in the eyes of the people; see my blog for how, after British rule, India has been under C.I.A. rule].

    Getting India’s nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, whether or not India imports American reactors, has been a prime American goal because at least 75% of the damage to India’s nuclear program would have been done once the facilities are placed under IAEA inspections, even if nothing further is done and no nuclear deal with the United States is finally signed and no foreign reactors, from the United States or from Russia or France, are bought. Any move to put Indian nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards, beyond the ones under IAEA inspections at present, is a grave injury to the nation and an invasion of India like the American invasion of Iraq and deserves a response appropriate to an invasion. If the nuclear deal with the United States is abandoned but IAEA inspections are brought in on the pretext that they are needed to import reactors and fuel from Russia — one prong of the American strategy and the Americans’ Indian collaborators has been to get the IAEA inspections in place without completing the nuclear deal with the United States and buy Russian reactors instead of American ones, to begin with — the import of Russian reactors instead of pumping the money into the indigenous nuclear program will be an additional injury. I have said India’s nuclear program should be designed and operated so that electricity is a byproduct of producing material for making weapons rather than material for making weapons being a byproduct of producing electricity. Manmohan Singh is still starving the Indian nuclear program of funds and still blocking the option of getting uranium from non-NSG countries, if necessary, though simply exploiting the uranium reserves in the country already known — at present only 300 tons per year is mined though the known reserves are over 78,000 tons not counting the extremely rich deposits recently found in Ladakh — is quite enough for India’s needs. It is a lie to say that India’s nuclear power production cannot be expanded beyond 10,000 MW on domestic uranium, though the production of electricity must be a byproduct of producing material for making weapons. A country that has ten thousand nuclear warheads and the means to deliver them to the continental United States cannot be restricted from importing, without IAEA inspections, etc., however much uranium it wants from wherever it wants by the United States or any other power; the power of nuclear weapons is what India needs; electricity can be produced in numerous other ways for the time being. Agreeing to even talks on new inspections with the IAEA — an instrument of American imperialism — are acts of treason and deserve punishment as severe as for the rest of the nuclear deal.
    Nuclear supremacy over the United States has to be India’s national objective and its one point agenda (see my articles ‘What is nuclear supremacy?’ and ‘Why nuclear supremacy?’ in my blog). The nuclear deal is totally incompatible with nuclear supremacy over the United States and deserves to be summarily rejected without going into any details. This is the most fundamental objection of all.
    I have repeatedly said there will be no nuclear deal and described in my blog steps I have already taken to enforce this by the nuclear destruction of New Delhi and then the coast-to-coast destruction of the United States by India with 5,000 nuclear warheads and extermination of its population.