India, Canada launch a new era with uranium deal

17156912371_f63c829dd6_zInfusing a fresh burst of energy into bilateral ties, India and Canada signed a path-breaking deal which envisages the supply of over seven million pounds of uranium concentrate over the next five years.

The agreement was inked in the presence of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper, with Mr Modi describing it as the launch of “a new era” in bilateral relations.

“The agreement on procurement of uranium from Canada for our civilian nuclear power plants launches a new era of bilateral cooperation and a new level of mutual trust and confidence,” said Mr Modi at a joint media appearance with Mr Harper.

The deal is estimated to be around $350 million and can be renewed after five years.

The deal is the crowning moment in India-Canada relations as it officially marks the end of decades of distrust that had marked India-Canada relations since New Delhi conducted nuclear tests in 1974.

Mr Modi encapsulated the importance of the uranium deal. “I am conscious of the significance of this visit in the history of our relations.” “I have come at a time when the importance of this relationship for our two countries has never been stronger.”

Canada has rolled out the red carpet to welcome Mr Modi, the first Indian prime minister on a bilateral visit to the North American country after a gap of over four decades. Mr Harper welcomed his Indian counterpart at the Parliament Hill with full military honors, including a 19-gun salute.

Apart from signing the uranium deal, the two leaders pledged to cooperate in the areas of skill development, civil aviation, railway transportation, and education, as well as space, social security and maternal, newborn and child health.

“Canada is ready to deepen co-operation with India in science, education, defence and space technology,” said Mr Harper.

Mr Modi could not agree more, and underlined the pivotal role Canada will play in his mission of remaking India. “Canada has the potential to be a key partner in every area of India’s national development strategy: energy and infrastructure, manufacturing and skills, smart cities and agro-industry and research and education.”

“This is a growing relationship. Trade potential between our countries is enormous. Prime Minister Harper and I are committed to establish a new framework for economic partnership,” he stressed.

(Deepak Giri contributed inputs to this article)

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