New Delhi: India and France will ink a couple
of pacts during the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy
who arrives in the country on Saturday seeking to strengthen
bilateral ties in key areas of space and civil nuclear
Sarkozy will be accompanied by his singer-model wife
Carla Bruni and a high-level delegation, including several key
ministers of his cabinet, senior officials, business-persons
and the media.
During his stay, the French President will hold talks
with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visit the Taj Mahal
with his wife among other engagements.
"I believe there is a framework agreement, one or more in
fact. Frameworks agreement between Nuclear Power Corporation
of India Limited and Areva (French company) are under
negotiations and if they manage to wrap it up over the next
couple of days, we will have those signed.
"These are general framework and framework agreement on
early work. These are possibly concluded and may be
signed.....It is for supply of two European pressure reactors,
initially, which will gradually increase to six in numbers," T
P Seetharam, Joint Secretary (Europe West) in the Ministry of
External Affairs said.
The early contract is essential to start implementation
of the 10,000-MW nuclear project at Jaitapur in Maharashtra.
NPCIL will subsequently enter into other technical contracts
and start construction by March 2011.
While the pact between NPCIL and Areva will be commercial
in nature, it will be followed by inter-government agreements
pertaining to confidentiality and Intellectual Property Rights
Besides this, a pact in space cooperation is also
expected to be signed which will help collaboration between
the two countries in the field of earth sciences and climate
programme and will also entail launching of satellites.
Seetharam ruled out signing of any major defence deal
during the Presidential visit but said it will provide a
momentum in the negotiations of deals, including upgradation
of nearly 50 French Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft currently
being used by Indian Air Force.
Sarkozy will begin his trip from Bangalore where he goes
to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and interacts
with top scientists from across the country.
Next day, he will proceed on a private trip to Agra where
the first couple will visit the monument of love--the Taj
Mahal. On December 6, Sarkozy will call on President Pratibha
Patil and hold talks with Singh in New Delhi.
He will travel to Mumbai on December 7 where he visits
the Police Memorial of 26/11, attend a community function for
giving awards to Taj/Oberoi management for their support to
French nationals during the terror attacks and participate in
a business conference.