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Sarkozy for India in UNSC
Shubhadeep Choudhury & Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Bangalore/Mumbai, December 4
India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council and its candidacy for the Nuclear Suppliers Group today got vocal support from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who described India as a “stabilising factor in Asia”.

Sarkozy did not explicitly call Pakistan an “exporter of terror” — a remark that British Prime Minister David Cameroon made during his visit to Bangalore earlier this year — but expressed concern over the use of Pakistan’s soil for terror acts beyond its borders.

Addressing a gathering at the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore, Sarkozy said, “Pakistan and Afghanistan are a major source of terror… We need a stable, democratic and prosperous Pakistan that is fully engaged in the fight against terrorism and determined to prevent its territory from serving as a base for terrorist acts, regardless of the country targeted.”

The French President said the recent election of India to the Security Council for two years should serve as the prelude for the permanent Indian presence within the UN Security Council. “How could a country with one billion people be left out of the Security Council?” he said.

Sarkozy, who reached Bangalore this morning with his glamorous wife Carla Bruni and French officials and business representatives to kick off his second visit to India, said the UN Security Council must also be enlarged by the inclusion of Germany, Japan, Brazil and an African and an Arab country.

“What is at stake here is the UN’s ability to respond to 21st century crisis using 21st century instruments. It is a matter of realism,” he said.

Lauding India’s role in social and economic development programmes in war-ravaged Afghanistan, Sarkozy said the opening of Afghanistan’s economy, the fight against drug trafficking and the establishment of a secure regional environment demanded the cooperation of all Afghanistan’s neighbours. “India must assume its full role (in Afghanistan) in the process,” he said.

The French President extended full support to India’s civil-nuclear programme. He said nuclear energy would now form the focus of Indo-French cooperation. Noting that 80 per cent of France’s electricity requirement was met though nuclear power plants, Sarkozy said France’s decision to rely on nuclear energy had proved visionary and ensured its energy independence.

Notably, Sarkozy would reach Mumbai on Tuesday along with a high-powered delegation comprising around 60 CEOs of top companies from his country. Those part of his delegation include officials of companies like Dassault, EADS and Areva, who are looking to sign multi-million dollar contracts with Indian firms, according to industry bodies here.

The biggest deal that Sarkozy is expected to oversee is the signing of the agreement between French nuclear equipment major Areva and the Nuclear Power Corporation (NCP) of India. As per the agreement between the two countries, Areva is to build two European pressurised reactors (EPR) for NPC’s nuclear power complex scheduled to be built at Jaitapur in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district.

From two plants initially, the complex will have six nuclear reactors by 2030. The other big deal to be signed between the two sides is a $1.2 billion contract to refurbish 56 Mirage 2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

Dassault is the frontrunner for the deal, according to French trade officials here.

In Mumbai itself, the groundwork is being done for the signing of deals worth hundreds of crores of rupees.




They keep date with symbol of love

Agra, December 4
French President Nicolas Sarkozy could not wait to keep his date with the Taj Mahal in the company of his wife Carla Bruni.

The French First Couple advanced their visit to the monument of love here by a day. Sarkozy, who had last visited the Taj alone in 2008, could not bring Carla, then his girlfriend, due to protocol reasons.

Arriving from Bangalore, where he spent a few hours on the opening day of his four-day trip, the couple headed straight to the Taj Mahal, changing their earlier plans of going there tomorrow for a look at the sunset from the monument.

While Sarkozy was in a lounge suit, Carla was wearing a knee-length dress with a stole draped around her shoulders and spent about 40 minutes at the Taj Mahal.

“I will pay a tribute to this extraordinary civilisation embodied by the Taj Mahal - an unforgettable monument to eternity,” Sarkozy said about the 17th-century white wonder built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz.

“I am looking forward to

the Taj visit,” said Carla in Bangalore.

Apparently whetted by the evening visit, the couple may again visit the Taj tomorrow morning on their way to Fatehpur Sikri. They will stay for the night in Amar Vilas hotel, from where one can get a beautiful view of the Taj.

Meanwhile, the streets leading to the hotel wore a deserted look. Even the few handful of journalists and camerapersons present had to work hard on the police to allow them a glimpse of the couple from a distance.

A policeman was heard saying: “Do you want me to be suspended? We have strict orders from the MEA and the embassy not to allow any mediaperson to catch a glimpse of the VIP.”





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