The Indo-US nuclear deal is on course to ratification by the US Congress; and now India is close to inking an agreement with the French government. News sources have said that India and France could sign a major nuclear trade agreement at the end of September 2008. In the US, President Bush had submitted the nuclear agreement to the Congress last Wednesday for endorsement to lift a three-decade-old ban on atomic commerce with India.
On September 29, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will hold bilateral parleys with the French government at the European Union-India summit Marseille, is hoping for a similar deal with Paris. According to Indian government, the nuclear agreement with France has already been drawn up and is ready for formal signing off. India hopes to close the deal possible by the end of this month. It may be recalled here that the details of the nuclear trade agreement were almost finalised last January when French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited India.
Meanwhile, three Congressmen have advised the US House to go slow on the India-US 1-2-3 nuclear deal and have a detailed study on the the agreement before the signatures are made on the dotted line. They in fact have come out in protest against rushing consideration of the proposal before the current US president George Bush leaves office. The three members of the House of Representatives want the US Congress not to rush it.
India already has a victory when the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the agency which controls the export and sale of nuclear technology worldwide, amended its rules to allow India to buy equipment and expertise to fuel its growing economy. The permission has opened the way for nuclear deals with other countries like Russia and Britain.