India, Namibia sign pact for uranium supply

Namibia, which has substantial quantity of uranium, has agreed to supply India with the same as part of a civil nuclear agreement.

Updated: Sep 02, 2009, 11:18 AM IST

New Delhi: Namibia, which has substantial quantity of uranium, has agreed to supply India with the same as part of a civil nuclear agreement.

Under the Agreement on Cooperation in Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy, the two sides will trade uranium and exchange expertise in designing of atomic plants and train personnel.

The two sides have also inked four other pacts as part of a move to inject "fresh dynamism" in their ties.

The five agreements were signed after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba in New Delhi.

Namibia is the fifth nation to sign a civil nuclear agreement with India after the latter secured a waiver from the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in September last year. India has already inked similar agreements with the US, Russia, France and Kazakhstan.

The two sides have also signed agreements on cooperation in the field of defence, cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources, on Pan-African e-Network and waiver of visas for diplomatic and official passport-holders.

Prime Minister Singh said the two leaders reviewed the current state of bilateral relations and set a roadmap for the future.

"We have decided to inject fresh dynamism in our cooperation in areas such as human resource development, capacity building, trade and economic exchanges, agriculture, transportation, defence, information technology, health, energy and mining," Dr Singh said.

The two sides noted that the bilateral trade volume and investment, though small, have been steadily increasing and resolved to take measures to enhance such flows. They noted the many opportunities for investment available in Namibia in the uranium, diamond, agriculture, energy, transportation, railways, mining, ICT and SMEs sectors and resolved to encourage Indian investments in these areas.

The Namibian side expressed its deep appreciation for the Human Resource Development and Capacity Building assistance extended by India under its ITEC and other programmes ever since Namibia`s independence.

The Indian side reiterated its commitment to further enhance its HRD and Capacity Building programme in Namibia with additional ITEC experts from one to five and augment the number of ITEC slots from 55 to 110.

The Namibian side thanked the Indian side for scholarships provided to Namibian nationals for bachelors, masters and doctoral programmes in India and requested for increase in the number of scholarships. The Indian side agreed to increase the number from seven at present to 15.

Both sides expressed interest in exploring cooperation in the diamond sector and stated that the establishment of a cutting, polishing and training institute in Namibia by India would go a long way in beneficiation of this local resource.

The Indian side informed the Namibian side of its decision to offer Lines of Credit of USD 100 million over the next five years to be used in projects and supplies of products from India; (ii) reaffirmed its decision to establish, at a cost of over USD 12 million, the Faculties of Mining Engineering and IT at the University of Namibia; and (iii) announced grants-in-aid of around USD 10 million for the education and health sectors over the next five years. The Namibian side expressed its deep appreciation for these offers.

Both sides noted that people-to-people contacts and tourism between the two countries needed to be encouraged further and resolved to take necessary measures to enhance tourism, culture and people-to-people contacts.

A large business delegation is accompanying the Namibian delegation. An extensive interaction between them and their Indian counterparts was held in New Delhi on August 31, 2009. A similar interaction is to be held in Mumbai on September 2, 2009.

After concluding his official stay in Delhi, President Pohamba and his delegation will visit Agra, Bangalore and Mumbai.