India, Canada ink landmark civil nuke cooperation pact

     India and Canada on Sunday evening broke new ground historically by signing a landmark civil nuclear cooperation agreement. Welcoming the signing of the agreement after bilateral talks held here, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said in a statement that it "reflects the change in international realities and will open new doors for mutually beneficial cooperation in nuclear energy." He further said both countries have identified renewable energy, clean technologies and energy efficiency as other priority areas of cooperation. He also said that that the newly constituted Canada-India Energy Forum has New Delhi's full support. A joint statement issued simultaneously quoted the two Prime Ministers' -- Dr. Manmohan Singh and Stephen Harper -- as saying that the agreement for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy would facilitate civil nuclear cooperation between both countries. Both leaders committed themselves to the ratification of the agreement and the completion of all remaining steps necessary to ensure early implementation of the pact. Both Singh and Harper underscored the potential for mutually beneficial civil nuclear cooperation and trade. The agreement provides for cooperation in areas such as design, construction, maintenance, sharing of operating experience and decommissioning of nuclear reactors, supply of uranium, projects in third countries, nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear waste management. Both sides will also promote cooperation in the use of nuclear energy applications in the fields of agriculture, healthcare, industry and environment, nuclear safety and environmental protection. Both countries and their leaderships have recognised through their agreement that sharing of nuclear energy should be safe, environmentally friendly and a sustainable source of energy. Both have agreed to work on pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRS) and CANDU Reactors. The signing of the agreement is significant in the fact that Canada was one country that was strongly opposed to India conducting nuclear tests in 1974 and 1998. It also was not overtly in favour of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) granting a waiver to India after it had inked a civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States in 2008, while not being a signatory to the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

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