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India to source Uranium from Canada

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada John Baird
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada John Baird

Energy major area for enhanced cooperation

By TN Ashok / Diplomatic Editor

New Delhi, Oct 14 : India has sought import of uranium fuel from Canada for running its atomic power plants in the country, it was announced today officially.

This would come through soon once the commercial and legal formalities and arrangements are ironed out and the procedures worked out, Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for Indian’s External Affairs ministry here told newsmen here. Canoco, the Canadian company dealing with nuclear fuels and the Indian department of atomic energy, are said to be negotiating a commercial and legal contract for fuel supplies.

Briefing media persons on the deliberations today under the Indo Canadian strategic dialogue process, the spokesman said Energy with particular focus on Nuclear sector was the highlight of the discussions between the two sides led by the Indian External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj and the visiting Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.

While India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the objective was to invite Nuclear cooperation from Canada in all its aspects, the Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said Canada’s priority was to further enhance relations with India particularly in the energy sector. “These are exciting times for India and Canada wants to engage with India “, he said adding that he was also present in central park in New York when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Indian diaspora and understood the enthusiasm and excitement that was generated at the meeting.

Baird said that the Canadian Prime Minister had extended an invitation for his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to visit Canada at the earliest. Both countries are now working out the details for such a visit that is likely in November or December.

India and Canada decided to jointly host a workshop on Nuclear Security, considered the first of its kind between the two countries. Some 15 countries are listed to participate in this conference and the International Atomic Energy agency is also said to be actively participating to make it a success.

India and Canada are also exploring the possibilities of research and development in nuclear power. Since India and Canada have similar configuration of atomic power plants such as in the Pressurized Water Reactors(PWR) of the capacity of 750 MW, technological cooperation seems a distinct possibility.

Another sphere for cooperation India sought with Canada was in skill development, a passion for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Areas in which Canada could contribute to make India strong in this sector was also discussed in detail under the framework of the strategic dialogue. Areas particularly mentioned were the Hydro carbon sector, welding processes and clean water and cleaning up of rivers. The technology ministries in this regard from both countries were said to identifying specific projects to work on.

On matters of trade and investment, it was felt that the full potential for cooperation was not being realized. India’s trade with Canada was a mere US $ 4 billion and the aim was to increase it exponentially to about US $ 15 billion in the next year, which is 2015. Again Canada’s investment in India was a shade under US $ 4 billion whereas Indian investments in Canada were over US $ billion .

“There was tremendous scope for Canada to up investments in India”, the spokesman said referring to the nature of discussions under the strategic dialogue.

India was likely to push for greater trade and investments with Canada when the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a bilateral meeting with the Canadian Prime Minister at the G-20 meeting in Brisbane, in Australia, next month.

The Canadian delegation visiting India includes International trade Minister Ed Fast, National Revenue Minister, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, and parliamentary secretaries Bob Dechert and Deepak Obhrai.

The delegation visit tht commenced October 12 will conclude on October 17.

Baird and Fast are meeting senior government officials to discuss global and regional security, economic prosperity and other bilateral matters.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said :” The recent transition in India marks an important chapter in our relationship, one that Canada looks forward to deepening and broadening. Issues surrounding global security, terrorism and economic prosperity will be the focus of our discussions with the Modi Government as we look to this next chapter with a wealth of optimism.”

“Canada and India share a special bond and have clearly laid out the importance of our relationship through the Canada-India Strategic Dialogue, ” he said.

Minister Fast, along with Parliamentary Secretary Dechert, is leading a six-day, three-city trade mission to Mumbai, Delhi and Chandigarh to boost Canada and India’s trade and investment partnerships. They will be joined by representatives of 14 Canadian organizations, including small and medium-sized enterprises, looking for opportunities to export to India.

With more than 1,200 Canadian businesses already active in India, and hundreds more pursuing opportunities here, Minister Fast will provide on-the-ground support to Canadian investors and businesses.

Baird and Fast will also meet with Indian ministers and business leaders to bring new energy and ambition to the partnership between Canada and India.
Parliamentary Secretary Obhrai is leading a delegation comprising representatives of six Canadian organizations to Jaipur, Hyderabad and Mumbai to strengthen the Canada-India bilateral relationship in areas such as regional security, education and trade.

Quick Facts:

· India is a priority market under Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan.

· Canada and India have long-standing bilateral relations built upon shared traditions of democracy, pluralism and a strong and growing Indian community in Canada.

· Since 2010, bilateral trade with India has increased 38 percent to $5.8 billion.

· India is a market comprising more than 1.2 billion consumers, with a GDP of $1.9 trillion in 2013 and a predicted annual economic growth of 6.6 percent between now and 2019.

· Canada has a strong network of trade support in India that includes eight Canadian trade commissioner offices and five Export Development Canada representatives.

· Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited India in November 2012, outlining issues of mutual benefit and concern.

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