M A I N   N E W S

India got clean waiver: France
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
Keen to enter into civilian nuclear energy cooperation with New Delhi, France has refuted reports in the Washington Post that the NSG agreed to grant a waiver to India only after an informal agreement that no member of the 45-strong grouping would sell enrichment and reprocessing technologies to this country.

No such secret understanding exists, French ambassador to India Jerome Bonnafont told Karan Thapar in an interview to the CNBC 18 programme ‘India Tonight’.

Endorsing New Delhi’s claim that it had secured a clean waiver, the French envoy also denied that the NSG nod came only after Washington’s assurance that it would suspend all nuclear commerce with India in the event of a test. No such assurance was given or needed, he was quoted as saying in a press release issued by the news channel.

The NSG waiver placed no restriction on fuel supplies to India or on India’s right to build strategic reserves, he emphasised while ridiculing suggestions that the Hyde Act restrictions had been incorporated into the NSG waiver.

Confirming that an agreement between India and France for civilian nuclear energy cooperation was ready to be signed, Bonnafont said only small procedural matters, which could not be termed as obstacles, remained to be sorted out.

He declined to confirm reports that the agreement would be signed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Paris towards the end of the month. On the sale of enrichment and reprocessing technologies, the ambassador said this was not a matter covered by the Indo-French nuclear framework agreement awaiting signature.

If India were to buy a reactor from France, New Delhi could obtain nuclear fuel for the full life of the reactor, ie 40 or 50 years. France would grant India reprocessing rights contingent upon India fulfilling the IAEA safeguards conditions and setting up a facility for the purpose.

Bonnafont confirmed that the latest Areva nuclear reactor, which is said to be the most advanced in the world, was available for India to buy and France was keen to sell it.



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