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Canada interested in selling India nuclear reactors

Sept. 14, 2012 at 8:48 AM   |   Comments

NEW DELHI, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Canada is seeking to enter India's lucrative nuclear energy market.

"We have turned the page with India. India is a very different country today. We value and welcome Indian investment in natural resources and energy," said Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.

"We have no concerns with (nuclear) proliferation. These issues are in the past. I am confident that these discussions will be concluded early."

Baird was in New Delhi to meet with Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna ahead of November's visit by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

After speaking with Baird, Krishna referenced the 2010 Canadian-Indian nuclear agreement yet to be finalized, saying the nuclear arrangement was "an important milestone" in bilateral relations.

"We also look forward to early completion of negotiations on Appropriate Arrangements for the bilateral Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement signed in 2010," Krishna said.

Baird added that the agreement was "actively discussed."

"We're readying an end-user pact with India, same thing we have with 42 countries," he said. "We're not asking for or imposing any additional obligations on India. Administrative procedures and details take some time but we look forward to a successful conclusion of these agreements."

In 2010 Canada, a member of the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, ended a unilateral moratorium imposed on India in 1976 on nuclear cooperation over concerns about possible nuclear proliferation.

New Delhi gave assurances that uranium and atomic technology imported from Canada wouldn't be used for "any unintended purpose."

Canada also expressed support for India joining key multilateral nuclear control export regimes like the NSG.

Indian interest in Canadian energy resources extends beyond its nuclear expertise, with New Delhi seeking to also buy Canadian oil and natural gas, particularly from its $96 billion Alberta bitumen oil tar sands investments.

Seeking to diversify Canadian energy markets, Baird stated that Canada was ready to supply oil and gas to India from its oilfields in the west as well as those in the eastern part of the country, while India is interested in trying to use Canada as a transit corridor to ship out U.S. oil and natural gas as well.

Underlining India's concern to develop energy resources from whatever quarter as quickly as possible, an electric grid failure in India on July 30-31 caused the world's largest blackout, affecting more than 600 million people.

Also 300 million people -- one-quarter of India's population -- have no access to electrical power. Once electricity is extended to those unserved, India's electrical demand will put added stress on the country's generation and delivery systems.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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