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India and UK sign cooperation accord

15 февраля 2010
Новости отрасли

After two years of negotiations, the UK and India have signed a joint declaration on cooperation in civil nuclear energy.

The declaration was signed in New Delhi by Srikumar Banerjee, chairman of India’s Atomic Energy Commission and secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), and Richard Stagg, British High Commissioner to India.

In a statement, the DAE said: “The declaration will help promotion and facilitation of wide-ranging cooperation in the nuclear field including in nuclear trade and also between scientific institutions of the two countries.”

The UK business secretary Lord Mandelson and Indian minister for commerce Anand Sharma met in London last week during a meeting of the UK-India Joint Economic Trade Committee. They announced then that the text of the declaration had been finalized. Mandelson said at that time, “There’s absolutely no reason why it shouldn’t be signed next week. It just needs the ministerial go-ahead and it’s there waiting to be signed.” He added, “We shouldn’t delay it any longer.”

In January 2008, during a visit to India, UK prime minister Gordon Brown said he supported the US-India deal and that he would work with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to agree a civil nuclear cooperation deal. A joint statement said that the two countries would “work expeditiously” towards a bilateral agreement on civil nuclear energy.

Although details of the declaration have not been released, it is likely to lead to increased nuclear-related exports from the UK to India.

In November 2008, the UK government lifted its ban on nuclear-related exports to India, following the decision by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to allow the transfer of ’trigger list’ items to India for peaceful purposes.

UK policy since 2002 had been to refuse all licence applications for the transfer of items which could potentially have nuclear uses to India because of that country’s status as a non-signatory of the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Such items, which appear on the NSG’s “trigger list”, can only be transferred to a country with full non-proliferation safeguards to ensure that they are indeed used for peaceful purposes. However, after India finalised a wide-ranging safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) earlier in 2008, the NSG decided in September to permit such items to be transferred to India.

India has already signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the USA, Russia and France as well as Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Namibia. It has also negotiated a cooperation agreement with Canada, which has yet to be signed.

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