India, Canada to fast-track nuclear deal
New Delhi: India and Canada -- an energy giant and member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group – on Wednesday decided to fast-track the remaining procedures to implement their civil nuclear deal and agreed to step up cooperation in the area of oil and gas.
"We also look forward to early completion of negotiations on appropriate arrangements for the bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement signed in 2010," External Affairs Minister SM Krishna told reporters at a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart John Baird.
The talks have set the agenda for the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to India, likely in November.
Fast-tracking implementation of the nuclear deal was among a cluster of bilateral issues the two ministers discussed that also included intensification of economic and energy ties and counter-terror cooperation between the two countries.
"There are no issues that are holding it up. It's an important milestone in our relations. These are a matter of details and we look forward to an early completion of these arrangements," Krishna said when asked whether there were any issues that were coming in the way of implementing the nuclear agreement.
In an important clarification, Canada stressed that it was not insisting on any additional conditionalities for supplying uranium to India.
"We certainly have no additional concerns. The administrative procedures and details take some time, but we look forward to a successful conclusion of these agreements," said Baird, who began his five-day trip to India on Sunday.
Stepping up cooperation in hydrocarbons loomed large on the agenda, with Indian companies looking to acquire stakes in energy companies in Canada.
Describing Canada as "an energy superpower", Krishna said India was looking at Canada "as an important source of oil and gas".
"We look forward to supplying natural gas to India," said Baird.
GAIL (India) Ltd is understood to be buying liquefied natural gas (LNG) assets which have been put up for sale by Spain's Repsol SA in Canada.
India's state-owned energy major ONGC Videsh is exploring the possibility of investing in oil sands and LNG in western Canada's Alberta province.