Canada and India are negotiating a comprehensive nuclear deal that will allow the latter to develop civilian nuclear power plants, a spokesperson of the Canadian foreign office has said.
Lisa Monette, the spokesperson, told an Indian news agency said both sides had “informal” discussions in September and expect to schedule a formal session soon. Canada signalled its support for India’s re-engagement with the broader nuclear energy community when it backed the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) decision.
At the same time, federally owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd is looking to re-enter the Indian market and is currently negotiating a nuclear co-operation agreement with India that would allow AECL to re-establish business ties, despite concerns that India has not signed the international nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
“India is a responsible democracy that shares with Canada the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, human rights and respect for the rule of law,” she remarked.
“India has made substantial non-proliferation and disarmament commitments to achieve the trust of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which were reiterated in a political statement on September 5.”
The negotiations come after Canada backed a decision by the NSG to provide an exemption for India that would allow it to develop civilian nuclear power even as it maintains its right to develop weapons without international scrutiny, Monette said.
She said Canada and India have longstanding bilateral ties built upon shared values of democracy and pluralism and strong people-to-people links. In recent years, both countries have been working to enhance bilateral cooperation in a number of areas of mutual priority.
The 2005 Canada-India Joint Statement reaffirmed the commitment of both the countries to deepen their bilateral dialogue on key global issues and enhance their cooperation in areas of mutual priority, including regional security and counter-terrorism; science and technology; environment; bilateral trade and investment; and people-to-people links, Monette said.