India, Germany to cooperate in civilian nuke energy

Germany also backs India`s bid to gain membership of the NSG, applauding its "excellent" non-proliferation track record.

Last Updated: Dec 12, 2010, 18:45 PM IST

Berlin: Reflecting their desire to deepen
the strategic partnership, India and Germany have for the
first time discussed the possibilities of entering into
bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy.

Prime Minister Manmomahn Singh referred to the prospects
of the two countries entering into the new area of
collaboration while hailing Germany`s supportive role in the
45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) which approved the
Indo-US civilian nuclear accord last year.

"On the bilateral side, we deeply value Germany`s
consistent support, including in the NSG, for the opening of
international commerce for India in the field of civil nuclear
energy. We have discussed the possibilities of entering into
bilateral cooperation in civil nuclear energy," Singh told a
joint news conference last night after wide ranging talks with
Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Vivek Katju, Secretary(West) in the External Affairs
Ministr, told reporters that Germany has "certain strengths"
in the nuclear power generation which contributes in a big way
to the country`s electricity needs.

Civilian cooperation in the atomic sector by authorities
concerned on both the sides will be explored, he said.

Germany has been keen on civilian nuclear cooperation
with India but the first step in this direction could be about
reactor safety, German ambassador to India Thomas Matussek had
said recently.

Germany has been reluctant because one of the big risks
of the globe is the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, Matussek had said, noting however that India has
an impeccable non-proliferation track record.

Merkel also voiced Germany`s readiness to deepen its
strategic partnership with India which also included boosting
the transfer of technology.

She reiterated this could also involve working together
on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and stepping up military
cooperation.

India has largely indigenous nuclear power programme and
expects to have 20,000 MW nuclear capacity on line by 2020 and
63,000 MW by 2032. It is aiming to supply 25 percent of
electricity from nuclear power by 2050.

Germany also backs India`s bid to gain membership of the
NSG, applauding its "excellent" non-proliferation track
record.

According to Mattusek, India not being a party to the
Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) will not be an issue
for his country`s support to India`s candidacy to the elite
nuclear club like the 45-nation NSG, though it would like New
Delhi to be a signatory to the controversial Treaty.

"We will give support for India for its NSG
membership...even without India not becoming a NPT signatory,"
he added.

"We value India`s commitment to non-proliferation. We
appreciate its track record despite not being a party to NPT."
he said.

Matussek had also said that Germany can supply turbine
equipment and nuclear safety technology to India.

PTI