French Prez Sarkozy backs India”s civil N-program

BANGALORE: French President Nicolas Sarkozy today expressed his country’s full support to development of India’s civil nuclear program but felt access to this industry was “restricted”.

Soon after he arrived here on a four-day visit, Sarkozy also backed India’s entry into Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and its case for a permanent membership of the expanded United Nations Security Council, saying it was “unthinkable” to keep a country of over one billion out.

“France is a friend of India. It will stand with it in its efforts in developing non-polluting energy and nuclear industry,” the French President said addressing scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

“We need to put an end to nuclear isolation of India.

It was injustice done to India challenging your right to access to civil nuclear energy,” Sarkozy, who is on his second visit to India, said.

India is now going to be a full-fledged member of the multilateral groups overseeing non-proliferation regimes, he said adding France would support India’s application for candidacy of NSG.

Sarkozy noted with “delight” that a French company Areva would be setting up nuclear plant at Jaitapur in Maharashtra that would go on to produce 10,000 MWe of “non-polluting” energy.

However, he noted, there was certain “inconsistency” in India’s approach as while it wanted development of clean energy on one hand, at the same time “restricting access”.

“We cannot force upon India obligations without giving it the means to meet the obligations,” he said. .
Speaking of France’s relationship with India, Sarkozy said that his country has been a good friend of India. “We don’t speak in two languages. We mean what we say.”

Condemning the 26/11 attacks, he said any such strike on India was an attack on democracy and all democracies stand by India. “When India is attacked, democracy is attacked,” he said.

He observed that terrorism emanating from Pakistan and Afghanistan is a “major source of instability” in the world.

Talking about Afghanistan, he praised India’s role and said the world cannot afford to lose the war against Taliban.

“We cannot afford to allow Taliban to comeback. No one stands to benefit if civil war raises its ugly head…we must succeed,” he said.

Noting that one cannot stand still if India wants to move ahead in 21st century, he said, “India, Brazil, Germany, Japan, some representatives of Africa and Arab world must be in UN Security Council.”

Sarkozy showered praise on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying the Indian leader was obsessed with peace through development and eradication of poverty.

“I have great admiration for Prime Minister Singh. I value his friendship. He is right in believing in peace and stability. India’s challenge is that if you succeed through peace, it will have a huge knock-out effect on the world,” he said.

India and France are united by common values and believe that international relations should not be governed by brutality or force and it should be based on dialogue and rule of law, Sarkozy said adding the relationship between the two countries should go much further.

Appreciating India’s growth, he said its voice has to be heard in the global level. “We need India to regulate the world monetary order. I believe Indian currency will be counted as one of major currencies,” he said.

On education sector, Sarkozy said he expected a three-fold growth in the number of Indian students going to France. “We want to train young Indians in our universities and open our research facilities for them. I very much hope that the reverse will also be true,” he said.

-PTI

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